133. Witness

I attended 

The birth 

Of a dear friend’s

Third child—

The hardest work

I’ve ever done.


To life’s fiercest truth.

A challenging pregnancy,

With a difficult labor.

I held a space 

And modeled calm

Through endless hours

Of constant struggle

In the face

Of a fathomless fear.

And in the end,

A healthy boy 

Was born—

A new life begun.

I think of that beginning

When I think of 

Your ending.

Witness to life’s fiercest truth;

Doula to your death.

This is the real work

We spend our lives

Preparing for; 


To life’s fiercest truth. 

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.