Logo Jerry Ham

If I may share a short story. Four years ago this past month, my step-dad passed away five weeks to the day after undergoing an emergency open heart following a massive MI. He'd told me a couple of weeks before hyis passing that he wasn't going to make it. I believe he literally killed himself taking care of my mother who has end-stage Alzheimers. On the day of his death, my wfie and I were driving from Spokane, to Seattle to see him and to ask the doctors to let go of him. We stopped for dinner, taking about a half hour at that. When we were about 15 to 20 minutes away from the hospital we called and were told that he had just passed away a few minutes before. For a long time I felt angry that we'd stopped and eaten dinner. I think that I was feeling that if we could have been there a half earlier, then maybe we could have done something, at least gotten to see him before he died. I know that several of our caregiving family here have lost loved ones recently. I don't know what you might be going through, except that I've been told that some of you were in depression afterwards and may even have wondered if there was more that you could have done. I wrote the following poem last night, drawing on my own experience. Hope it helps someone. :-)

You're not to blame

When painful memories come round to call,
And bitter tears then begin to fall.
Why did this happen, what more could I do?
Guilt and shame move in with you.
Could I have done things different somehow?
Is this a dream? Can I wake up now?
It's not a dream; the pain is real,
It's not a scene from some movie reel
A loved one was sick and now is gone,
But you're still here and life goes on.
It's easy to think that you messed up bad,
And now you're down, the heart is sad.
My child, look up, lift up your eyes.
And yes my child, it's OK to cry.
But don't be tricked into playing the game.
Rest assured my child, you're not to blame.

© 1999, Jerry Ham

e-mail: Jerry.Ham@werner-saumweber.de

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