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Hard to Contemplate

by Carolyn Chilton Casas

How to balance living my own life

and helping to care for another.

What portion of my years 

do I willingly hand over?

How to enjoy what’s left

without feeling neglectful,                 

absolve the guilt

of being in mellow health

while she suffers?


It’s likely she’ll die

before I do.

Image of a pink hibiscus flower.
Image credit: Ikaia Pal on Unsplash

Sixty-three years together,

that’s a long span, and most 

of those spent either in the same

house or a five-minute drive away.

Some years ago, in a hospital,

we thought she was dying.

Now, I live fearing

when the other slipper will drop.


Once, I met a person

who gets glimpses of the future.

She saw my radiant face

as an old, old woman.

I dread the loss to be endured

before it’s my time to go.

So many times, I’ve held my breath

as her phone rings and rings

because she is slow to pick up.

Impossible to imagine, the day

when she doesn’t answer my call.     


The great paradox of life—

to open ourselves

to every dewdrop of beauty

and not close off to heartache

like soft-petaled hibiscus blooms

sealing themselves shut

in response to the dark of night.




Black and white photo of the author, Carolyn Chilton Casas.
Carolyn Chilton Casas

Carolyn Chilton Casas is a Reiki master and teacher whose favorite themes to write about are nature, mindfulness, and ways to heal. Her articles and poems have appeared in Braided Way, Energy, Grateful Living, Reiki News Magazine, and in other publications. You can read more of Carolyn’s work on Facebook, on Instagram @mindfulpoet_, and in her collection of poems, Our Shared Breath, as well as a forthcoming collection, Under the Same Sky.

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