In 2012, I left my adopted home in North Carolina and moved back across the country and into my family home where, at 96, my mother was still living. As best laid intentions often go, I stayed longer than I expected.

While I lived with and cared for my mother, I wrote this blog. She died in 2018, and I (eventually) moved my blog to cover new adventures. You can find me at www.writingdownthe story.com.

Now, at the end of 2021, I am returning to the family caregiver scene with a brand new “full service” website as a caregiver ally. And in anticipation of the publication of my memoir about mother care, to be published in October 2022 by She Writes Press: Mother Lode: Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver.

I hope you will join me at www.gretchenstaebler.com for behind the scenes stuff about the book; and, if you are a family caregiver or anticipate being one or are a caregiver survivor, inspiration, ideas, information about aging, and “permission” to feel everything you feel. This is hard work. You are not alone.

P.S. My book is available for pre-order on Amazon, Bookshop.org, Barnes & Noble.

9 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Gretchen,

    I have recently started a blog about juggling caregiving and raising kids. After writing a blog post today on the National Care Giver Month theme, Take Care to Give Care, I figured I better google it. I wanted to avoid using Take Care to Give Care in the title so wouldn’t tromp anyones toes. It of course brought me to you.

    Imagine my surprise when you also have SEVERAL of the same sites I subscribe to as your favorites. So I began to wonder if you are in one of the fb blog support groups or the fb since a few of those women are too. Though maybe it is the dementia support group I belong to because your name seemed familiar.

    Kind of a crazy intro to just say “hi” but it’s nice to find another blogger even remotely in my niche. I haven’t found many personal family caregiver blogs. I have yet to find someone who is raising kids too. Anyway, I enjoyed your newest post and put in a subscription. I also followed you on Pinterest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How nice, Laurie! To hear from you, to know my post showed up when you googled Take Care, to know it’s possible to follow me on Pinterest even though I’m not a subscriber and don’t post on it (I should figure that out and do it I suppose). Anyway, you didn’t tell me how to find you. Please do! And tell me more about the FB groups too, please. I just found another caregiver blog too, watch for the link on my next post. Thank you again for writing. I look forward to following your stories. Blogging has been my lifesaver. Gretchen


      1. Hi Gretchen,
        I spoke too soon on Pinterest. When I saw your share button, I said that and then couldn’t find you once I left your page. Serves me right for having too many tabs open and jumping all over from one to the next before finishing what I start…can’t wait while those pages load, lol.
        As far as the Facebook Groups go, there are several for building blogs, some for support and some for knowledge or promotion. I joined about 10 all at once and then found there are 5 I really like. Blog + Biz BFF’s, Women Winning Online, Smart Moms, Boss Moms and Blogging Boost. They are all private groups and have “rules” for certain days as far as set days for promotion etc. I find all of these 5 to be incredibly helpful with questions on blogging or marketing etc as well as supportive to newbies and old hats alike. I also find that these ones want and encourage you to participate, but the requirements are low. I can easily help a few other bloggers once per week per group, but couldn’t fathom helping over 20 each day on other groups! and if you don’t add your post link you don’t have to help anyone you can just “listen” in and learn so much. I find I can help many more when I don’t feel pressured to do it, but because I genuinely like someones posts. I will usually make sure I help at least a few before I throw my link up. If I don’t see any, I wait. Though nothing, the groups are large and there are many contributors to choose from. That is how I found Jorden from Writing Revolt and Kristin from Four Princesses and the Cheese. In fact Kristen was one of the first to reach out to me about my blog and became my first subscriber.

        I also belong to the dementia caregiver support group. I find so much in common with so many folks. Though some of the loved ones symptoms/behaviors may vary, I find the caregivers have a lot in common. So many with very little help and support and so many who are tired and feel guilty. Though it’s sad to hear the terrible tales, I find it helps me feel a sense of community as well as how grateful I am that our situation is so far, so much easier than those I read about.

        My goodness, this was like a blog post. It really is cathartic, I wish I started sooner, but I am excited to have found it now. As for my contact info, I am on facebook at laurie dernalowicz orourke, my blog is http://www.pardonmemycrownslipped.com, I also have a facebook page with the same name. I do post on Pinterest and have just dipped my toes into the world of Instagram.


  2. Gretchen i have been on this journey with my late mum and now my dad just over three years

    I did not move as far but i left everything but my son behind. Including a very weak husband of almost thirty years

    Looking forward to reading through your blog


  3. Gretchen…. not sure how my internet wanderings led me toward your blog but I can so relate. My life long depressed mother has been living with us for the last seven years….. she is 96 and now under hospice care…. she has willed herself to this point over the last seven years, and I believe the end is near, but only time will tell. I do believe we will all treasure this time parenting our parents….. no matter how hard, depressing, aggravating or messy it is……


    1. I’m so glad you found your way to my blog, Maggie! I hope to see you here again, along with some of your story. Seven years. Wow. I expect to treasure the time in retrospect. (At the moment, she is of the belief she is still parenting me; and that is hard. 😉 And I am non-compliant, which is hard for her.)


  4. I look forward to reading your blog. I lost my own mother far too early, but I had a chance to help and learn from my mother-in-law who made it to 90. Parenting a parenting is hard in so many ways, yet those tender years will prove some of the finest in memories. At least, this is what I believe. All good wishes, Mary


    1. Thank you, Mary: for your words and for reading and following my blog. I struggle with the idea that I will look back on this time fondly, as I did when people told me the early years of parenthood would be my favorite time—when there was no money for both milk and bread. Maybe it was, because I was young, with better times ahead. But we’ll see. I’m looking forward to exploring your blog and poetry. I moved back to my Pacific Northwest after 24 years in Raleigh. I love the connections with readers of my blog! Blessings on your return to Chapel Hill next month. Gretchen

      Liked by 1 person

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