119. What the End of the Tether Looks Like

Do not read this

If it will disturb you;

This was not an easy day.

Your husband put you to bed

Last night at eight;

He helped you to the bathroom

At ten.

From ten to four

You talked;


Pulled the covers;

And probably cried.

You were up

Showered and dressed

By six.

The morning began with you

“Carpet bombing” 

The bathroom 

In shit. 

Vickie has the day off. 

You have another UTI.

The antibiotics aren’t working.

You slept all day;

Your husband did not. 

He helped you clear 

The phlegm in your throat

With his fingers. 

Then prepared a dinner

You didn’t eat. 

You ate only enough 

Breakfast and lunch

“To keep a sparrow alive.”

Your eyes 

And lips

Remained closed through dinner.

You refused your probiotic;

Insisted you’d already taken it. 

Your husband prayed 

For patience. 

He asked me how long 

Can you live without eating?

He told me he is worried.

He told me,

“Maybe it’s because 

I didn’t get any sleep last night,

But I don’t have the right attitude today.

I am a bit frustrated. 

It’s a good thing the end of my tether

Is a loop.” 


The Poetry of Dementia is an ongoing project to share my family’s journey with my mother’s illness as a year of moments. We do not know whether my mother will live a full year—or perhaps she’ll live longer. Her dementia has been a bittersweet and beautiful journey that has already taken us places we never imagined. Loving and caring for her at home has fundamentally changed each of us, and daily reminds us to live in the present with love, trust and patience. Click here to read from the beginning.