Things that make you go hmm . . .


Shanell T. SmithReflections of a caretaker

by Shanell T. Smith

I may have signed up for this
I may have not
Sure I get tired often
But I give the best I’ve got
I put others’ needs before my own
Sometimes the prison is my home
O how I wish I could be free
From all the pain and misery
My loved one endures from day to day
I wish I could take the pain away
I feel guilty when I don’t want to care
Just stay home and rest; let down my hair
Because I know that they are just lying
At the TV or wall they blankly stare
O why and how did this lot fall?
On me alone, I mean after all
There are other loved ones who are
Living their lives, tearing up the town
Visiting or calling when they get a sec
Giving me advice, I mean, “What the heck?!”
How dare you attempt to educate me
On the best things to do or how things should be
I’m the one exhausted to the point of keeling over
You know on whom they cry? It’s on my shoulder!
It’s not fair that they are suffering
It’s not fair that they are ill
But I do it because I love them
I do it because I can feel
Because I know that at a drop of a dime
It just may be my time
To depend on someone else’s care
And I’d hope that someone will be there
To make time for me in their lives
Listen to my complaints and all that I despise
Clean my body. Feed me food
Hug me no matter what my mood
Hang in there when they are weary
Smile even though their eyes are teary
Tell me it sucks while holding my hand
Instead of telling me to hush; that it’s God’s plan
Talk to doctors and nurses and aids
Make sure my medical bills get paid
Fill out forms for additional assistance
Encourage me to fight on despite my resistance
The list goes; that’s just a few
Of the things that caretakers say and do
So if you know a caretaker or if it’s you
Show them some love; say a “thank you” or two.

Shanell T. Smith is a teaching elder in the PC(USA) and assistant professor of New Testament and Christian origins at Hartford Seminary.