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CAREGIVER CAROLS: A Musical, Emotional Memoir Kindle Edition
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In this remarkable memoir, Don Wendorf tells the story of his and his wife’s journey through a sequence of diagnoses, which become secondary to the honest recounting of his own emotional journey as someone who is a trained professional caregiver and is also the husband of a true love whose sufferings are very much his own. Theirs is quite a partnership—an admirable one.
True to his voice, Dr. Wendorf couples original songs to his narrative expository notes that follow and the effect is startling and powerful. The two techniques of lyric and exposition create a kind of harmony—a dimension of ideas that produces powerful effects in the reader . I liked the book. I liked his honesty—his confession of effort and disappointment with himself when he thought he had fallen short of his own ambitions and the true mark of success in that he persevered, which is what all noble caregivers have in common no matter who their patient is.
In the stories of caregiving that abound, this unusual offering adds a helpful dimension of awareness, objectivity and frank admission of pain and tensions that should prove helpful to people on caregiving journeys of their own.
Through poetry and verse that is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, Dr. Wendorf describes his heartbreak, denial, frustration, and anger as he loses his wife inch by inch through a combination of strokes and other complicated illnesses. He grieves the loss of their emotional and physical intimacy. He struggles to stay connected with who she was at her core as her needs increase and her ability to care for herself declines.
If you are a caregiver, this book will validate your experience and make you understand that you are not alone. You will learn that having negative feelings doesn’t make you a bad person, and it will give you strength to carry on. I highly recommend it!
His book, “Caregiver Carols: A Musical, Emotional Memoir” is unique in that it’s written in a song lyric light verse format to help diffuse the heaviness of this topic and allow us to absorb, remember and utilize his counsel in what he hopes is an engaging and entertaining format.
While “Caregiver Carols” is written to help all caregivers - men and women alike - understand that our emotions are normal and that we’re not alone, and to offer concrete suggestions for how to better mange difficult and complex feelings; I think men will especially relate to his challenging journey and self disclosure.
With 70% of Alzheimer’s caregivers women, we don’t often provide a voice for men. I know this is a gross generalization but I think women approach caregiving differently than men and, and we seem to deal with it by talking, by crying, by outwardly grieving. Men on the other hand, may mask their grief by responding with anger, impatience, frustration and fear. Perhaps this is because as our loved ones decline we are also losing ourselves and all that we hold dear, including our marriages as we’ve known them. Which of us would not go down fighting?
While Dr. Wendorf has written “Caregiver Carols” for the wider audience of caregivers, his book is so important and helpful for male caregivers who have so few road maps and who generally have no one or only a few to haltingly explore these emotions with.