By Nancy Cherico (Family Caregiver) – Reading and writing poetry helps me through the hard times. As we all know, caregivers have many of those. Somehow, the words on paper or spoken aloud are a comfort.

A theft so subtle at first
you don’t know
you are being robbed,
like having your pocket picked.

You notice
nothing missing,
nothing out of place
but the thief
has already moved in.

He starts
by stealing words,
them out of sight. Then
he siphons off your memory
drop by drop.

Over time
you begin to protest,
to grieve the losses. To beat
and blame yourself.

Not content with burgling
the meanings of things,
the thief makes a shambles
of what you see and hear.

He steals the blueprints for living.
How to brush your teeth.
Get dressed.
Later, how to walk.
Finally, how to swallow.

The scans show what
has shriveled, how little the thief
has left. By then the grieving
has begun in earnest, not by you

because all you know now
is fear or comfort,

but by those who love you
and have witnessed the slow
theft of your mind and life.