Caregiver. What does that word mean to you?[/caption]





Today’s poetry prompt explores the life-living role of caregiving: what it means to have a caregiver, what it means to be a caregiver, or what it means to both have and be a caregiver. Let’s begin with an example by William McDonald.




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.




Caregiver. What does this word mean to you?

Do you have a caregiver? Are you a caregiver?

Set a timer for five minutes. Write down all the words and phrases that come to mind when you think about the word caregiver.

  • the memories
  • the images
  • a specific event
  • daily occurrences
  • character traits like gentle, patient, frustrated, rushed, calm, laughter
  • a scent
  • a sound
  • colors
  • a flavor
  • certain times of the day or certain days of the week
  • specific parts of your routine
  • topics of conversation
  • treatments
  • setting



List two good things that happened today. These can be large (for example, no unexpected crises today) or small (for example, a great cup of coffee, a few quiet moments to think).

Was today difficult or unexpectedly easy?

What verbs do you associate with caregiver? What expectations?

Have there been any surprises?

What is your relationship with the caregiver? Is it a relative? Husband or wife, daughter or son, niece, nephew, aunt, a neighbor? Someone from your church? A paid caregiver?

Is the caregiver you?

What have you learned?

Where have you grown?

What do you wish you had known?

What would you like to pass on to others?


Remember that these questions are just to get you started. Sit with the word for a bit. Allow the words to form. Follow them. Allow them to speak, to tumble and roll. Once they distill into rhythm and form, please consider sharing them in the comments or submitting them for possible publication.



You can view our Submission Guidelines here. When submitting a poem, please complete the release form on our Permissions page. Along with your release form (and your submission, of course), include a brief bio and headshot as well as links to your website and social media.

We look forward to reading your poems!

Cindee Snider Re

Cindee Snider Re

Author, Photographer, and Co-Founder at Chronic Joy®

Cindee is wife of the man she loves most in this world, mama of five world-shaking creatives (19-27), author of Discovering Hope, Finding Purpose, Embracing Worth, and I Take You in Sickness and in Health, photographer, craver of quiet, lover of cotton, denim, Jesus and tea, and co-founder of Chronic Joy®. Cindee and four of her five kids have Ehlers-Danlos, dysautonomia, intractable migraine, and myriad co-existing conditions through which they're learning the deeper the valley, the greater their capacity for joy.

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