Sitting with my Mother at the Lake at Sunset


  • Diane Richard-Allerdyce Union Institute & University


dementia, iambic pentameter, grief, poetic structure, poetry, bibliotherapy, self-care


Authored by a family caregiver who is also a practitioner trained in poetry/bibliotherapy, this poem portrays a former professional helper—the author’s mother—who is now living with dementia. The poem describes a moment of insight that can inform relationships between caregivers and recipients of their care, with particular emphasis on moments where a clear response to a request is not grantable. In the accompanying contextualizing narrative the author elaborates on how the poem’s formal structure becomes part of its meaning by offering boundaries within which strong and otherwise unwieldy feelings can be safely expressed. While the complexities of caregiving can sometimes feel overwhelming, reading poetry can be a form of self-care for the professional caregiver in representing a sense of order, smoothing out edges of uncertainty and providing reassurance that even amidst the complications, one can find peace in the regularities of language.




How to Cite

Richard-Allerdyce, D. (2021). Sitting with my Mother at the Lake at Sunset. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 27(2), 20–22. Retrieved from



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