Discover Poems by Caroline Johnson in The Caregiver

About Caroline Johnson The Caregiver

Caroline Johnson The Caregiver


The Caregiver Caroline JohnsonBy Caroline Johnson

I began to write poetry related to caregiving when I started to observe the decline of my parents in the 1990s. My mother could never remember her lines in a play she was acting in, and my father had a shooting pain down his right leg. Mom later would wear her pajamas the whole day. These precursors morphed into full-blown Alzheimer’s, Hydrocephalus and Rheumatoid Arthritis for my mother, and for my father, a rare neurological condition, Multiple Systems Atrophy (like Parkinson’s). Later he developed Lewy body dementia.

The poetry in this collection witnesses the struggles my parents faced, including my father’s physical deterioration as we saw him transition from a cane, to a walker, to a wheelchair, and finally to being bedbound for the last two years of his life. They describe my mother’s heartfelt display of emotion despite her memory loss. The poems also touch on the day-to-day trials a caregiver experiences, such as “Hospice” and “The Longest Good-Bye,” which describe the difficult decisions that must be made.

My goal in writing The Caregiver is to reach those who might be going through something similar to what our family did. When you listen to your mother repeating the same stories over and over as you experience the strangeness of her not really knowing who she is, this teaches you patience. When she asks to speak to the “other Caroline” as she continuously sets the table for long dead guests, this opens the door to humor, as does your father seeing imaginary puppies as you feed him homemade oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and thickened drink.

I have read my poems in bookstores, libraries and cafes. Strangers have come up to me after readings to tell me their caregiving stories. The book has been reviewed favorably by Rhino, Michigan Quarterly Review, Goodreads, Amazon, and others (the links can be found on my website, I was also touched that Garrison Keillor chose two poems from this collection, “Rewind” and “Dangerous Driving,” to read aloud on his website (Fall 2019).

About the Author Caroline Johnson

Caroline Johnson has been writing poems for more than 20 years. Prior to this book, The Caregiver (Holy Cow! Press, 2018), she published two illustrated chapbooks (2011 and 2015) and more than 100 poems in a variety of journals. She has been nominated for both the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and currently serves as President of Poets & Patrons of Chicago. You can read more about her at:


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To order Caroline’s book on Amazon, click here.

View Caroline’s Video of Hope here.

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