Pain ravages her face and makes her old;
I see new bags beneath her sea-green eyes.
She stays in bed a lot, dreading the cold;
She goes for heating pads, never for ice.
I watch her wince when she exits the van;
It takes a while for her to straighten and stand.
Her disks won’t stabilize and nothing can
Restore their architecture to God’s plan.
I love her desperately and she’s in pain.
Her pain is amplified within my head.
The helplessness I feel is the same
All humans carry to love’s watershed.
Watershed makes rivers, even of tears,
Though grief remains after the water clears.
I have suffered degenerative disk disease for so long that it is a part of my life I endure without too much thought. But a fresh disk impairment can be disabling. Chronic pain is always better than acute pain. And Kathleen, my wife, is suffering acute pain. We all stand by helplessly so often when our loved ones suffer, but often there is nothing to do but stand by. Thus the genesis of today's verse; I hesitate to call it a poem.