A Caregiver's Anguish

Where is the strong, active young man I married?
Every time I wash his poor bent back -
Once straight and strong, now scarred by radiotherapy -
Stinging tears come to my eyes.

Sponging agonizingly painful, almost useless legs -
Which used to walk so actively,
Causes deep heartache.

Rubbing his trembling, enfeebled hands,
I think of the years of craftsmanship they have performed
To support his family.

Pushing his wheelchair, I want to wrap my arms around him,
Shielding him from the effects of this dreaded disease
Which is ravaging this body that I love so much.

He always worked hard and now is unable to enjoy life.
He rarely complains verbally, but I hear his unconscious moans
And observe his agony when I have to move him,
Which daily tear at the deepest roots of my love for him.

If I fall asleep for a couple of hours at night
I jump up filled with guilt to check on him.
Is it any wonder my friends say “You look so tired!” ?
Some tell me to Cheer Up, Be Strong, Look on the Bright Side,
Don't worry, It'll be all right, Trust the Lord, etc.
All of which I try to do
And have done now for almost four years.

I know I am naturally fearful and anxious,
And without God's help would never survive;
So I pray for strength every day to carry on as long as necessary
To do what I can to care for this dear man,
Even through my anguish.
And I thank God that my husband is still with me
To love and care for!

Honoria A. Groves

May, 1993