You Have To Know

You have to know
how hard it is for caregivers
to watch their loved ones
fade away
one pain at a time.

You have to know
how hard it is to see them
do things for the last time.
To stop doing things like
making love and settle for
a pat on the shoulder.
You have to know.

You have to know how hard it is
to shop and cook and go to the chemo room
and come home to hopelessness and dread
and a life filled with “what if’s? ”

You have to know how long the road is
and how cold the empty heart is when
there is no more caregiving left to do.
When you have outlived your job and
find your hours idling on the vine.
You have to know.

You have to know that out of sorrow
comes your own rebirth.
How hard it is to watch yourself be a tiny
embryo of hope; a toddler that falls into
the coffee table and lurches into the street.
You have to know.

You have to know that hope is reborn
when you have to know… because you do.
You know that your only resource is within
and that no one will support you until you
begin to support yourself. So you begin again.
You are caregiving your own spirit now.

You have to know that God Himself is
giving you another chance. That your
loved one is within your heart and dancing
at this chance you are given.

The day you dance again is more than a pat
on the shoulder. It is an affirmation of
your own strength and courage. It is your ticket
to eternity, your own knowing how the game is played.

Not with a losing hand but with a winning spirit.
Not with self-pity but with the grace of God.
Not with hopelessness but an acceptance of
the flow. That’s all there ever was and all
there ever will be.
You have to know.

Vicki Woodyard


  1. Vicki, I read this today on Jerry’s Nondual Highlights and was bowled over by it. It is so good!! A few lines into it I wondered, is this Vicki’s? You’re a gifted poet as well as prose writer.


  2. Thank you. I had a book’s worth of poems that were lost in my hard drive crash.
    I like to write in a variety of styles. This poem I love; it is an anthem.


  3. Sheer acceptance without resistance.Is it non duality? That is big word. Be simple,mind. Very simple. There was a bush and a stream and a field to look on ; once. Gone. So what? Now the ant is looking for the grain. It remembers its Sangha.The toil is hard and the shoulders are also too many.But the final nectar is yours.Share it.


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