Kira Henschel, my publisher, has become a friend over the years. We would meet occasionally for breakfast and she heard stories about my parents and their circumstances as they unfolded. All along, she encouraged me to write a book about it. I resisted for a couple of years because I didn’t have the energy or mind space while Mom was still alive and because I didn’t know what to say or to whom I might be writing.
My previous books were self-help, how-to focused. In this case, I didn’t feel equipped in the least to offer advice. Ultimately, I decided to write the story of what happened as plainly and honestly as I could. I had folders full of documentation and reams of hand-written notes from hundreds of telephone calls with medical and legal providers, senior living professionals, friends and neighbors of my parents, siblings, extended family, and my own children. I wrote the book to extend a hand of understanding, welcome and whatever comfort I could provide to anyone caught in a challenging and demanding life chapter.
Enlightened, yes. Inspired, yes. Also understood, validated, encouraged and “normal.” I pray it helps people look at their lives and the people in them with a clearer eye, a more generous heart, and a deeper appreciation for the power of forgiveness.
How comforting it is to know that despite a difficult, ugly, and exhausting experience, it is possible to come out the other side stronger, more peaceful, and grateful to have lived it.
I have written several books other books. How to Grow a Backbone: 10 Strategies for Gaining Power and Influence at Work was published in 2000 by NTC Contemporary Books (subsequently bought by McGraw-Hill); Life. Be in It. was published in 2012; and Of Beauty and Substance: A Backbone Guide for Women in 2014, both by HenschelHaus Books.
Throughout these and many other career experiences, I have been an avid student of human behavior, power systems, gamesmanship, and small “c” culture. All fortified me to deal with the far more personal and emotionally taxing journey with Mom and Dad.