CH's Yates pens tribute to her husband

The Centers for Disease Control has declared the increasing number of friends and family engaged in caregiving a public health issue.  In a new book, Love is an Action Verb: A Caregiver’s Journey, Dr. Melodie Yates of Cleveland Heights tells her own story about caring for her husband of 50 years, Dr. Richard Yates, who has progressed deeper into Alzheimer’s disease over the last 16 years.

Throughout that time, Yates wrote poems as a relief and a release, and explained, “My poetry was the mechanism for survival, regeneration, and expression of emotional angst.”

She was encouraged by her caregiver support group to publish her words to help others as a cathartic way of coping. Subsequently, Yates joined the Write to Unite book-writing program, and learned about the publishing process by attending a Literary Cleveland session sponsored by Heights Libraries. 

Yates poems demonstrate a confidence that there is light at the end of the tunnel. “Love sustains us,” Yates said, “and allows us to find the joy, buried in the piles of dirty laundry, the messy house, the big decisions left unmade and the daily drip of decay we witness."

In addition to poetry, the book offers journal questions and an exploration of caregiving. Yates’ book is available at local stores and libraries, and online. Yates is available for readings and guided discussions about caregiving and loss. She can be contacted at

Patricia Cangelosi-Williams

Patricia Cangelosi-Williams is a 50-years-plus resident of Cleveland Heights, and a community activist, ASL interpreter, and former business owner.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 9:10 AM, 05.29.2024