Wednesday, July 20, 2011


To wait when waiting feels unbearable
When action seems imperative
But there is nothing to be done.

To trust that what is needed will be provided
When human resources are limited and needs are great
And distrust is more available, but divisive and destructive.

To accept
What is unacceptable
Because to fight with what is adds suffering to pain.

To be attentive
When the mind is clouded with exhaustion
So that opportunities to hold with tenderness are not missed.

To be with the anxiety that arises in muscle and bone
Not letting it drive action or paralyze
Allowing breath to create mercy around the anguish.

To take a break
When the fear-driven mind screams for constant vigilance
So the mind and heart and body can find respite and rejuvenation.

To receive the help offered
From others and from the Great Heart that holds us all
Letting gratitude temper grief,
fullness counter fear,
and compassion carry us all.


(For those of you who don’t know, both of my parents have dementia- my father advanced Alzheimer’s, my mother, early stages. My father was moved to a psychiatric facility -100 miles away from his home- last week because his aggression escalated to the point of choking a caregiver (despite months of great care and strategies to calm.) He is in a ward for those who are violent because of mental illness- not really where he belongs but there simply is no bed available in the psycho-geriatric ward better suited to his needs. My mother of course is deeply distressed.)


  1. It must be very difficult for you, too. I wish you strength.

  2. Oriah, a beautiful and touching poem. May these words you express be a healing balm to your heart and soul as you grieve and traverse the challenging terrain of your parents dementia, as well as anyone else in similar territory.

  3. Good Morning,

    My heart wraps 'round you Oriah and your mama and dad. Such a challenging time for all. I hope that a bed in a psycho-geriatric ward becomes available for your dad, soon. Hoping that "gratitude [tempers your] grief, fullness [counters your] fear, and compassion [carries]" you...Ellyn

  4. This is very hard, Oriah! I feel for you all!

  5. So Sorry to hear your heart is heavy with this pain and sorrow. I am sure you are doing the best you can while this unfolds itself. It's the only thing we can do when these things happen. Sending you the beautiful calming energy to help encourage you along the way.