This poem was shared with me by the author’s husband, Bill, on Nov. 8, 2017, the day our caregiving group was given the opportunity to become independent. Shirley’s poem explains the purpose of our group, helping guide caregivers during and beyond the walk.
By Shirley Redlack Hill, October 17, 1989 (revised February 2010)
(Shirley’s mother died from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease in 1992; Shirley died from Alzheimer’s complications on December 21, 2016)
I visited Mom today, but she wasn’t home.
We smiled and hugged; I was alone.
In only body she was there for me,
Not the mom she used to be.
She tries to recall a friend or event,
But the demented mind is twisted and bent.
I long for peace in her tangled brain –
Something to ease her confusion and pain.
For a time now, I’ve patiently endured
Watching her once gentle thoughts obscured.
It’s hard having such a long good-bye,
Yet I know that God has a reason why.
Compassion I find so bitter sweet,
Still, I grow each time we meet.
I hug good bye,
Saying “Give me a kiss”,
Old times together always ended like this,
The road home is long and congested:
Tears come; they can’t be arrested.
But God’s love will make me whole.
Again His hand has touched my soul.
I know there are still trials to come,
And I pray for the nearness of His Son.
Long ago He showed me the way,
If only I follow Him day by day.
Thank You, Lord, for being near;
Please take away my mother’s fear.
Now, God, keep her safe in Your care;
Let me know You’re always there.
I release her to You. As You stand at the door.
I open my hand – fist clenched no more.
Your grace is sufficient for each new day;
“Alleluia, alleluia” is all I can say.
As our visits draw to a close,
This wasn’t a walk I gladly chose.
For those who must experience the same,
My heart’s with you; you’re not to blame.
Someday soon new cures will arrive,
Making our loved ones once more alive.
For now, seek support in your prayers or a friend,
Knowing God’s there until the end.