Healing Words

A little bird told me that one of our volunteers was a published writer, so I approached the lovely Barbara to see if she would be willing to let me use some of her poems in our blog.

In four poignant poems, Barbara has encapsulated the feelings of many carers – the isolation, the uncertainty, the loss of control and the complete change in lifestyle that is required by many carers.

However, Barbara quickly pointed out that although these particular poems are heart-wrenching, they are actually a hugely positive part of her life and of her caring role.

“Writing poetry helped me to express my feelings about the caring situation and somehow have some kind of control over what was happening, even though Mum’s condition was deteriorating and I knew there would be no happy ending. I also met up with other writers on a regular basis, who encouraged and supported me in my poetry.

I should emphasise that many of the poems I wrote had nothing to do with the caring situation but enabled me to focus on other things in life. I think it is essential for carers to have their own interests or hobbies to pursue when they can make time for them, but this is not always easy. I was fortunate in having others to share the caring responsibilities but this is not everyone’s experience. However, I do think it is something to try and do, as doing something for yourself as a carer, helps to recharge the batteries and enables you to keep on caring.”

Helplessness

Tonight I feel so useless;
I can’t help you sort your tv,
as I am here and you are there

but you rang in hope.

I try to help fix the problem
but the phone ties you to your chair;
you can’t recall what I say.

Your clumsy fingers tremble
as you struggle to obey my words
and try to work the remote

but without success.

Both hands hold your walker
so it’s hard to fiddle with plugs
fixed to a distant wall.

Six short miles separate us
but I cannot get to you;
thanks to my night blindness

I’m stuck in my flat.

Is this the future for us both;
that I can’t help you anymore,
as I am here and you are there?

Barbara G

Originally published in Reach Poetry 2008

Losing her mind

Some day
Mum might remain
in that shadowy place
of silent disintegration,
for good.

Barbara G

SCHIZOFRENETIC:
word describing the experience of a carer
living in two places!

Shuttling by bus between my flat and Hayes
Complicates how I’m now spending my days.
Hot taps on sinks keep switching position;
Isolation in Hayes my frequent condition.
Zipping up and down stairs to fetch this or that;
On the ball, off the wall, we can still have a chat.
Frantic attempts to live life at Mum’s pace,
Reading the mail and paying bills in her place.
Everyone else can come briefly then go;
Normal life habits I no longer know!
Every day brings so much to be done, but
TV my rescuer provides interest and fun.
I should tidy my flat but I’d rather be writing;
Creating word patterns is much more exciting!

Barbara G

Originally published in CCF newsletter 2006

Visiting Mum

Which version of my mother shall I see
as Parkinson’s encroaches on her mind?
Will she look blank, or smile and welcome me?
Which version of my mother shall I see?
Lost in the past, that’s where she’ll often be;
I never know which mother I shall find.
Which version of my mother shall I see
as Parkinson’s encroaches on her mind?

Barbara G 2009

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One comment

  1. I like the poems, very creative

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