Cerebral Bleed

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 .


Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author


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Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of two novels,, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com.

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