There comes a time while caring for a loved one when you must make the difficult decision to move him to a nursing home. In September of 2012, Bill was getting weaker, making it difficult for me to transfer him from one place to another. We called in a physical therapist who said that due to Bill’s declining condition, it was no longer safe for me to care for him at home. We looked into the possibility of him moving to Greenhouse, which has a better long-term care concept, but Bill was on Medicaid, and there was a six-month waiting list. We put him on the list and with a heavy heart arranged for him to go to another nursing home for the time being. He never made it to the top of that waiting list, passing a month later.
The following poem talks about our last morning at home before he moved to the nursing home. It was published in Labyrinth: Poems from Wyoming and Beyond, a chapbook produced this year by WyoPoets, a state organization that supports poets and promotes poetry throughout the state. Click this link to hear me read it.
FOR THE LAST TIME
Your leg jerks in pain,
as I put on your socks and underwear.
You wince when I roll you over,
pull up your pants as far as they’ll go.
I put on your shoes, pull you upright,
haul on your hoody, fasten your gait belt,
with a lot of effort, swing you from bed to chair.
We embrace–you’ll begin a new life
where others can more easily care for you.
We’ll always be together.