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The Caregiver

By S.M. Puska

You are not to blame; it is not your fault.
You are doing your best to help them through.

You cannot fix this with a few calls and visits.
You cannot Google the cure or demand correction.

They are afraid, too. They do not hate you.
They do not seek to drive you crazy or make you sad.

Their days are patchworks of light and dark.
Be stubbornly patient in your love for them.

Comfort and reassure them; help them feel safe.
Fight like a mother tiger for their care and rights.

They may criticize you, or fail to thank you,
They may not remember you, or try to hurt you.

Don’t take it personal; it’s the body, not the person.
Stay strong and faithful to your love for them.

Care for yourself, too; get the help you need to
Persevere through the uncharted way ahead.

And don’t forget the other people in your life;
Ones who are well and need your love and time.

Don’t assume it will always be, things change in a flash.
Make time to thank, and love, and listen and laugh.

Susan Puska enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps in 1975 and was commissioned in 1977. She served as the U.S. Army attache in Beijing, China from 2001 to 2003, and retired in 2005. She is an avid traveler and photographer.

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