By: Karen Plate
During her mother’s journey with dementia, Karen used poetry as a way to process and express the many emotions she experienced as a dementia caregiver. Karen hopes her poetry will help other dementia caregivers know they are not alone in what they are experiencing. To learn more about Karen and read more of her poetry, view Through a Daughter’s Eyes: A collection of poems.
I Can’t Keep Up
Don, you are leaving me behind.
I can’t keep up.
Don, I don’t know who all of these people are.
I need you to tell me their names.
I feel safe when you are near.
I am so lost when you are gone.
I don’t know where to go or what to do.
You are my security and my rock.
I want to listen and to hear all you have to say.
I want to talk with you and to share our life.
But, I cannot take everything in.
I cannot remember what to say.
Don, I love you.
But, I cannot keep up.
You are leaving me behind.
Round and Round
“Karen, could you look at my foot?
Something is making it hurt.”
A doctor’s visit the next day.
Medicine is given for healing.
“Karen, now I have diarrhea”
“Mom, the medicine for the foot has caused the diarrhea.”
“Karen, I didn’t know I had a sore foot.”
“Karen, I don’t feel hungry – I am tired and weak.”
“Mom, it’s probably from the diarrhea.”
“Karen, I don’t remember having diarrhea.”
“Karen, I wish I felt better while you are here.
I don’t know why I feel like this.”
So it goes.
Round and Round.
Who Am I?
“Who are you?”
Mom, it’s me, Karen.
“Who are you?”
Kathryn, it’s me, your husband Don.
Mom, I love you.
I don’t want you to forget me.
“Who am I?”
God, I pray that question never comes.
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