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A poem for me

My brother wrote a very special poem for me during one of our camp sessions. Every fall and spring Dak works at “Skogfjorden,” the Norwegian language summer camp for kids, which is taken over by adults in the shoulder season. As the Director of this Adult Language Program, I encourage all participants and staff to set aside whatever issues are happening at home and be fully alive in the peaceful, northern camp setting. This is a break from the everyday. These adult camps allow us to focus on our shared interest of learning a foreign language.

This fall I was recognized for 30 years of service as Director of the Norwegian Language Adult Program, as it is called. During those thirty years, I’ve lost my mother to cancer, my grandparents to assorted illnesses, my best friend to Young Onset Alzheimer’s disease, and have attended the funerals of numerous Skogfjorden participants. Over the years, I’ve been able to provide a nurturing space to hundreds of participants and for myself. For those of use who have been giving care, this camp has been a godsend.

I’ve been extra fortunate to share (many of) these camp sessions with my brother. We are both family caregivers and have two siblings with Huntington’s disease. Our time at camp has given us the gift of togetherness without the duties of caregiving. In that space, Dak, aka my brother Steve, wrote a poem for me. I was awestruck. My wish for all family caregivers during November, National Family Caregivers Awareness month, is that you find time for yourselves–time that allows the magic of rest and time to play which, in turn, may bring forth your creativity.

In the Mountain’s Shadow by Dak Gustal
(Skogfjorden, 2018)

Let us slowly go up

the mountain together.

We’ll pass into it once again

as deep as shadows

Until not even a strong wind

can find a way between us.


Fjellskuggen av Dak Gustal
(til norsk ved H.C. Midelfort og P-I. Bergan, Skogfjorden, 2018)

La oss gå langsomt

sammen opp i fjellet.

La oss gå inn igjen

så langt som skuggene når

Slik at selv en sterk vind

finner ikke plass imellom oss.