Caregivers, Grief and Metaphors: Reflecting on Sara Adler's poem “Birds of Prayer” by John Jacobson

Birds of Prayer” is striking to me for the writer’s use of metaphor. I believe that both caregivers and the ill need metaphors. We especially need metaphors from nature. They reconnect us to a wider web of life where we can find some sense of belonging. They also give us distance. They help make sense of the senseless.

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Letter to a Caretaker: An Acknowledgement by Jutta Braun, RN

Dear Caretaker:

As I read, I felt with you the fear, the pain, the madness. 

The would-be caretakers – police, EMT’s, nurses, doctors – all too human and apathetic. Aren’t we all? I, too, am angry with them – for taking your dignity, and giving nothing in return. 

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Being Useful: The Emotional Transformation of A Caregiver. A Commentary on Family and Coming Together by Bekka DePew

We are often powerless in the face of death or illness to do much besides watch; we are forced to recognize “the uselessness of love to give her breath.” This feeling of helplessness we experience, both as physicians and as caretakers, forces us to reevaluate the way we understand ourselves and the purpose behind the role we play as a family member or a healthcare provider.

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