The Readers Advisory committee is pleased to announce that Annie Newcomer has won our Build a Better World writing contest in the open category for her poem Caregivers. We find the poem an interesting and new take on our theme that works to capture a very specific type of "Building a Better World." The imagery is powerful and the author captures how our bodies can sometimes be forces of nature that suck us in and spit us out. And that some are able to witness this process of unknowing and struggle in others and stick around, trying to find what good they can in the uncertain mess.
These past few years I have seen dear friends lose family to Alzheimer's. Hospice and caregivers helped these families so much. I see them as building a better world. Annie Newcomer lives in Prairie Village with her husband David. She writes as a way to explore the world and herself.
I once had a mother who loved me before
she fell into the ocean of lost words
and speech. We journey to play on the beach
where I lose sight of her on the horizon.
Grey clouds march across the sky. We are not
certain of the monsters they push in. Finding
ourselves unprepared, we run for shelter, seems
the smart thing to do before being plummeted
by memories. We leave a drowning blue bird
on a blue wave. It is hard to look into “old”
eyes, painful to see their disturbing questions
staring back. Best to pretend we don’t know
the answers. Instead we keep busy counting
our blessings, and our lists of accomplishments.
We travel alongside the Tin Man collect our heart
medal from the Wizard so we can get out
of this place. There is one, though, who stays
behind, who does the heavy lifting, who brings
mother’s hand to her lips, understanding
the value of touch. When it rains it pours
heartbreaks and the caregiver is there to mend them
in ways our loving “too much” causes us “too much” pain.
So she goes back, back to find what she
sees as life but we see as dying.
I thank God for the angels among us
who understand the “long good-bye”,
who see sandcastles in the sky
where others see storms.