Family Caregivers Writing Workshop Wrap

Duet’s first writing workshop took place over several weeks in May and resulted in remarkable essays by our participants. Some have written before, while others committed to paper for the first time. Every caregiver has an affecting story to tell, in their own style, their own voice. We shared what we wrote each week, fielded feedback from one another, then rewrote for clarification and impact. It’s exciting to witness everyone explore, expand, and evolve with creative expression. A one-word writing prompt spawned many of the compositions. One participant shared, “This workshop encouraged me to flex my creativity and continue finding my own voice while communing with other caregivers who enjoy writing.”

Here are a few of the pieces submitted for publication for your reading enjoyment.


by Sandy Mercer

Irene is pacing.
She wants her mama.
She wants to go home.
I follow her into her room.
We sit on her bed.
A bed with a wicker headboard.
A Golden Girl’s bed.
A bed that traveled with her when…

Look for the Helpers

by Donna Vande Kieft

Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.”

Whenever March arrives, all too soon after a short 28-day month of February, I get nervous about tax preparation and the looming due date of April15th. It was stressful for both me and my husband, Bill. We were good at our jobs helping people, serving in ministry. But we were not strong in understanding and organizing finances and taxes. Bill would spend hours itemizing expenses and I would just hope and…

Sing: De-lovely Dementia (with apologies to Cole Porter)

by Tim Shaffer

It’s Drive, it’s Desire,
It’s Deranged, it’s Delusion,
It’s Deception, it’s Disturbed,
It’s Demented, It’s Dementia,
“It’s delightful, it’s delicious,
It’s delectable, it’s delirious,
It’s dilemma, it’s delimit, it’s deluxe,
It’s de-lovely’.”


by Marianne Belardi

Tuesday, our father’s 113th birthday. Our mother’s 99th birthday was the day before. Molly stands at the kitchen refrigerator, hands on handles of the open doors. A years-old note (in her handwriting) is taped to one: USE HANDLES PLEASE.
She peers inside, searching, but what she seeks is…

Comforting and Chaotic Waves

by Sandra Perdew

I liken my caregiving journey to a walk along the ocean’s edge. I get good solid footing enjoying the water and the warmth of the sand, gathering shared memories with my loved one as we journey through life together. 52 years thus far.

On good days, I may come across some wonderful treasures — seashells (memories) of differing colors and shapes which bring sunshine and smiles to my day. Then a wave comes in, sometimes unexpectedly, washing away my sure-footing, and the shells which were bringing such delight, disappear.

If the waves keep coming too quickly…



Discover Caregiving Excellence: Expert Insights from Dr. Frances Marcus Lewis and Amy Cameron O’Rourke

| 9 Minute Read
We have invited two remarkable speakers to help you discover practical strategies and tools to navigate your caregiving journey: Dr. Frances Marcus Lewis, Ph.D., the […]
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