Dementia poetry.

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Hello all,

I have been a young(ish!) caregiver for my mother-in-law, who suffers from dementia, for the last three years now.

I am in the process of creating a new poetry site primarily aimed at carers, but also people with dementia as well.

The blog is an honest account of my experience of caring over the last few years in poems - some silly, some exasperated, some happy, some sad - of my last three years caring for my mother-in-law, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, and is aimed at helping to support other caregivers in a similar position.

DG x


To Parody Kipling:

If you can keep your head when those you care for
Are losing theirs and blaming all on you,
If you still doubt yourself when others trust you,
And make allowance for your doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about; you know those awful lies,
Or being hated, they just envy you,
For once they looked good, and could talk wise:

If you can sleep - then youre not a shirker;
If you can think - then you still have a brain;
If you can meet with assessors and social workers
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by people to make you look bad,
Or watch the person you gave up work for,broken,
And you still try to help them worn-out and sad:

If you can't make one heap of all the good things
Because your life has become a drudge,
When each day you start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word when others judge;
If you can't force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve you any longer now,
If you know there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says : 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with critics and keep your temper,
Or with those who acclaim you - and keep the common touch,
If family and loving friends keep bright the embers,
If their voices count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill each sleeping minute
With sixty minutes of the sleep you need,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And you have been a great care giver - believe!
Jude you have still kept your mind even if you have lost everything else.
There is hope for you girl. Everyone is rooting for you.
Jude, KEEPING BRIGHT THE EMBERS, TOGETHER! I'll be there with you!

You HAVE BEEN, a Great Caregiver! BELIEVE!!!
How do I caregive? Let me count the ways.
I love you in the darkest days and even darker nights
I do worry and am anxious when you are out of sight
For I wish I could do this job with grace.
I want to fulfil your everyday's
Most quiet need, yet I never seem to get it right.
I need some space and to stand in the light;

I want to be good at this Im not seeking praise.
I caregive with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with a childlike faith.
I will love you but I resent this life
With all it brings,—until my last breath,
Smiles, tears, of all the time—and, if God choose,
I shall keep you with me until death.
Having hit on Kipling and Elizabeth Barrett Browning I thought I would have a go at one of my own:

You know when your day goes from bad to worse
You're no longer the daughter but the resident nurse
At least it feels like it

Or perhaps you're the maid or the servant maybe
Making meals to throw away and the hourly tea
And throwing that too

Did you plan a life that would end up this way?
The same old same old every single day
Im sure I didnt

But you keep on doing it but not sure why
You could put them in care but you wont you sigh
Because you just can't do it

Its odd how we love and resent at the same time
How the brain of your loved one has no reason or rhyme
At least not that you understand

And then the moment comes when suddenly all is bright
They smile and talk and all seems right
For a moment

Then back into the abyss - the dementia beckoned
But it only lasted an hour a minute a second
Wait I want you back

And in that moment when she was your Mum again
Your forget the angst, the anger the pain
And weep for what was

I don't know how anyone as stressed as you are can come up with all of that (it is wonderful, by the way). You inspired me to dust off and read a little poetry, but the thought of altering the words to suit my life made my head hurt. Kudos!
I have slept a lot more lately and I think once I wasnt sleep deprived any more things seem a little lighter. I have made some decisions too so I think that helps. Plus they are going to have a crisis meeting re MY health so that I can get 3 hours break a week (Im not holding my breath on that one though...they have been promising me that for a year now)
You touched my heart with your poems. Your writing is touching and very good. I love it!

I hope for a break for you! Three hours is not much. This is so hard. My heart breaks for you.
"In Abundance"

This is really cool. I'll be back. I might even start to rhyme. I need this. Thank you!

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