A poem by poet and caregiver Rachel Hadas, whose husband has frontotemporal dementia.
Rachel Hadas is Board of Governors Professor of English at the Newark campus of Rutgers University.
The author of many books of poetry, she is coeditor of The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present, published by Norton in December 2009. Her prose work Strange Relation: A Memoir of Marriage, Dementia, and Poetry will be published by Paul Dry Books in 2010.
I had to carry it on your behalf.
But there was always something else to do.
I had to fear, remember, and imagine,
but there was always someplace else to go.
I had to bear it all for you. For me.
Throw this out and keep that. Forget and know.
Old jokes, old anecdotes
struggle to the surface even now.
Our neighbors at the movie holding hands...
Another bubble burst. The tears went dry.
What had been slowly leaking, years and years:
the person who said “I.”