Monday 3 September 2012

A Carer's Thoughts

A few months ago I did a training course, and was shown this film.

The poem is doing the rounds on Facebook lately, no one knows for sure who wrote it, but it is very moving and I would love you to view it first. You can find whole print outs of the poem should you wish to read it. These thoughts came to me at work today. It is not based on any one in particular.

You did not choose me, you do not know me
You let me into your home, into your most intimate rooms
I can see the photos on your wall, your family
I observe the way you stroke your clothes, looking at the seams
Once you worked in those dark satanic mills we sing about in Jerusalem
And now you are living your own version of hell.
You can't remember your name, or where you live, but you can sing "Danny Boy"
You cannot move, you cannot walk, you cannot follow through with a thought to its completion.
I lift you up with a standing frame and you have no idea how you are moving. You are scared.
I reassure you, keeping my voice level, my tone light.

I see my grandmother, my mother, myself. 
Dementia, Alzheimers disease, stroke, they are no respectful illnesses, they strike anyone.
One day this could be me, with a fresh faced carer, brightly undressing me, washing me, feeding me.
I bring you magazines, I show you pictures. You love looking at the frocks.
A memory, of floral dresses, tea dances, of friends, of courting. 
This memory is old, 40 years or more but it could be yesterday. It is precious.
I get a notebook, I write as you talk, I clip the picture out that has prompted this.
I put it away safely in your file, a tangible record of a once precious memory.

When I see you, I see a mother, a friend, a lover, a sister, a daughter, a worker, a homemaker, a dancer.
Dementia might have threatened to take these things from you, 
But we won't let it win.
We must not let it win.  
I see you.