My husband has been an enormous support for me all through our marriage and particularly through my illness experience. I don’t think I tell him this enough. It is easy to become very focused on oneself when experiencing illness. At the risk of making this blog too much about my own writing, I decided to put this poem out there. It is a reflection on what the caregiver role means and how little it is noticed. I hope that other works will offer this perspective as well. I would like to submit this for the book.
An Ode to a Caregiver
In the world of illness
the patient is the star,
with agents and handlers,
groupies and entourages.
“Do you need some chicken soup? “
“You are so brave, so inspirational!”
“Tell me your every need, your every wish and I will fill it .”
The patient is the celebrity, allowed the luxury of focusing on themselves.
Encouraged to focus on themselves
But if the patient is the star
what is the caregiver?
Chief cook and bottle washer.
Launderer of dirty linen.
The one who cleans up the vomit.
The one who cheerfully brings endless cups of tea.
The one who carries the weight of financial worries.
The one who explains why mommy has lost all of her hair.
The one who responds to grumpy moods with a sympathetic “are you having a hard day? “
The one who worries sick about losing the love of their life.
The one who, no matter how much they love the patient, is always a bit of an outsider to the illness.
Where are their groupies?
Where are the reporters?
Where is the fanfare?
Leave the patient in anonymity for a while.
Cast your spotlights
on the quiet one in the background.
Acknowledge her courage
Walk in his shoes a while