This week I have altered my usual format. I've asked my friend Richard Fuhrer to share a poem he wrote recently as he wrestled with whether this was the time to place his wonderful wife Judy in a memory care facility. Judy had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease approximately 7 years ago and Richard has been her care partner throughout this period. Judy's cognitive capacity steadily deteriorated over time, until she was unable to perform even routine self-care activities. When he received a call from the memory care facility that they had an opening, Richard knew he had to accept the placement. That was when he wrote this poem.
Note to Judith
This morning you woke up not feeling well.
I asked if I could help.
You said yes; I said come over.
You moved to my side,
laid your head against my chest
letting my arms encircle you,
my hand holding your head to my chest.
I felt you breathe deep and relax.
I know you could feel my breathing,
feel my heart beating,
feel the warmth of my body.
I asked how your tummy felt;
you said “better.”
I think you could feel my tears
as I wondered who will hold you
when you wake up with pain.
Who will hold you so you know you’re safe
and your tummy feels better.