May 25, 2017


I want to do this.

I don’t want to do this.

I love doing this.

I hate doing this.

I can do this.

I can’t do this anymore.

The Caregiver.

By choice.

Or no choice.

You will be frightened.

You will be alone.

You will have doubt

And you will want out.

But only you will ever know.

And only you will ever know the moments that make it all worthwhile.


Diane/caregiver/Colton, California


I am my 85-year old father’s 64-year old caregiver. He is bedridden now and rarely speaks. His eyes do his talking for him. His eyes speak of how tired he is. He holds my hand and teaches me to be quiet and just be there. Do I talk too much Daddy? Barely a smile while nodding his head, “yes”. I laugh and try to be quiet. Our time together is growing shorter and there’s so much I want to say.

But we just hold hands.

One time he said, almost shyly, “You’re a good girl”. I stood there, suddenly 5 years old again, grinning like an idiot through my tears.

What will I remember of this last leg of his journey? All the pain and morphine? His silence? The way he reaches for my hand? I will remember all of it and treasure every moment.

For now, we just hold hands.


Mari/Caregiver/Burbank, California


Nearly all of the people I’ve cared for, in the last part of their lives it turns out, the care was mine, but the giving was theirs.

It was not my gift to them, but their gift to me. It was pure grace.

Grace, that Don allowed me to read to him, even though he didn’t need, or maybe even want me to. He knew how much it meant to me to do it.

My mother watched in quiet acceptance and love as I tried everything in my power to give her comfort and attempted to lessen her pain. 

My father knew as his strength ebbed, mine had to grow.

Each of them gave far more to me than I ever gave to them.


Deanne/caregiver/Kingston, Ontario


My husband was diagnosed with early stage dementia in June 2015. My heart was broken. A month later our son, Steven, died. How can a heart break twice?

My husband and I cared for each other but we were arguing more and more.  

I wanted out.

But I could not dessert him. I could not put the responsibility for his care on our daughter. These circumstances have brought us closer. Our shared memories have brought us closer. We have found love again.  

We live one day at a time, not thinking about the future because we have no idea if there will even be a future. Today we hugged and made a list of things that need doing so he would not forget.  Then we hugged again.

It felt good.  

Pat/caregiver/Tucson, Arizona


In the autumn of 2006, my beloved husband was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a form of dementia.  I’d noticed that this witty, funny, intelligent (two Masters degrees) man was beginning to struggle with, of all things, language. I had no idea then that nine years later he would not be able to communicate via language at all.

But the language of love and touch never left him.  

On the evening before he died, a baby goat was given to him to hold – one that had had her forelegs injured during birth.  He stroked and comforted her as he would have any living being.  That is the moment I carry with me.

The language of love and touch never left him.  

The Caregiver.

By choice.

Or no choice.

You will be frightened.

You will be alone.

You will have doubt

And you will want out.

But only you will ever know

And only you will ever know the moments that make every moment worthwhile.


If you are a caregiver with a moment to share, send it to I will happily share it in Part 2 of this blog.

By: William McDonald, author, Old Friends (Endless Love)

Available at:

Written by William McDonald
William McDonald is an Emmy Award winning writer and published author who, for more than 30 years, specialized in emotional communication in the broadcast industry. For several more years, he was a caregiver in assisted-living homes, memory-care homes and private homes, and it was there that he met many of the old friends who inspired these stories. He writes full time from his home in Colorado.

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Share your thoughts


  1. It is indeed a bitter sweet journey.

  2. So many emotions. Have to learn how to take control

  3. There are moments when my mom will talk to me. Or listening to her singing with my granddaughter. She is 90 and in the advanced stage of Dementia.


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