In the emergency room after your first stroke,
I told you about my singing group’s performance
at a wine tasting–you said
we should have sung “Red Red Wine.”
In and out of consciousness,
you understood everything I said,
gave me hope our lives could return to normal.
When I left you in the intensive care unit,
I said, “I love you.”
You said, “You better.”
I was hopeful.
At the nursing home, I was encouraged
to lie on the bed with you
which I hadn’t done in three months.
“This feels right,” you said
when I stretched out next to you on the narrow bed,
your good arm around my shoulder,
my head resting on yours.
It did feel right.
You grew stronger, came home,
then had a second stroke, not as severe,
but never walked again. For the next five years,
I dressed you, took you to the bathroom,
prepared your meals, helped you with your computer,
tuned in ball games for you on the radio,
made sure you had plenty of recorded books.
You carried on as best you could
before deciding you had enough.
Hope died when you did,
but you’re in a better place.
Although I miss you,
I’m relieved not to be your caregiver anymore.
To hear me read this poem, go to https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15213189/cerebral%20bleed.mp3 .