Authors

  1. Lundell, Dana PhD

Article Content

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What to Bring

A beloved backpack or sturdy,

 

organic-cotton cloth bag.

 

Comfortable, broken-in shoes.

 

A snack. A stash of non-GMO

 

dark chocolate with nuts

 

just for these emergencies.

 

Foam ear plugs: pink, blue, or orange.

 

It is their decibel rating that is key

 

to those critical moments of rest.

 

To shut out the beeping,

 

the drama, the news, or the future.

 

Something to read, sprinkled liberally

 

with easy pictures to feed tired eyes.

 

Something already crinkled and worn.

 

And certainly a bottle for water. To drink.

 

To replenish. For something else to do

 

for another two minutes outside the room.

 

To hold. A moist breeze for stale air.

 

Tissues. Your eyes will leak.

 

Loose change for broken vending

 

machines lit up after hours. Again,

 

a different thing to do on another floor.

 

A compass. Better yet, a GPS

 

to mark your place. You will get lost.

 

You will go to and from many places

 

that will leave indelible marks.

 

Kind words. For they will wash

 

her feet and raw bottom. You

 

will worship them. They

 

may be the only gowned ones

 

at 3:00 a.m. who look inside your leaky eyes

 

and say: She matters.

 

PJs, a wrap, or small blanket for those nights.

 

May you never leave her side.

 

Bring everything. Bring nothing.

 

You will never be prepared.

 

Dana Lundell, PhD, Program Director at Portland State University, writes that she is the primary caregiver for and the only child of her mother, who has terminal endometrial cancer. This is one of several poems and vignettes she has written about her caregiver experiences.

  
Dana Lundell, PhD. D... - Click to enlarge in new windowDana Lundell, PhD. Dana Lundell, PhD