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Posts Tagged ‘illness’

Do over 100 booksignings/events in less than six months and you start to notice who’s buying your book.

Who Buys/Who Needs Mothering Mother?

Majority: Women (guys do too, but more need to since 44% of all caregivers are males)

Age: 40-65 typically (the “average’ caregiver is 47 years old and will caregiver for 4.5 years)

Ethnicity: Mixed–caregiving is common, accepted and expected among many ethnic communities such as African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Indian–just to name a few.

Boomers and Sandwich Generationers–lots. Even young people with family members–parents, siblings and others who suffer with mental illness. Caregiving covers a wide array.

Diseases: The usual suspects–Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, cancer, heart disease, and mental illness top the list.

I’ve also noticed the caregivers (oftentimes, daughters) tend  not to buy the book if mom is with them.

Many caregivers “circle” me. They’re not ready to buy my book at first. They tell themselves they don’t need it–yet.. They might take my card. Many do come back–and talk to me, for minutes, sometimes a half hour. I hear lots of family stories–and I’m glad I do. I actually enjoy this and feel that they need a listener ,and I’m glad to be one.  I’ve had them not buy my book that day, and then order it–only to email me with tender words.

I’ve learned that many people buy my book who has already lost mom or dad–and find my words, my stories cathartic. Others almost run from me–still in pain–in griever’s pain. I understand.

And the other person who buys my books are mothers. Wise mothers who want to read my story and share it with their daughters. They want their daughters to know and understand what’s up ahead–they want to open a dialogue. I’m proud of these women–of their openness and bravery.

See? See why I do what I do? See what I’ll stand in bookstores for hours? They need me. I know, I was one  of them. I so would have clung to “me,” read “me.” Needed “me” to listen. That’s why I do what I do.

~Carol D. O’Dell

Author of MOTHERING MOTHER: A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

available on Amazon and in most bookstores, Kunati Publishing

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I heard a great analogy today that pertains to everyone, but especially caregivers. Boomers and sandwich generation-ers need to hear it too.

We never have to offer our good health to someone else (who is sick) because there’s not enough good health to go around. We don’t have to give that up. I can be well, and they can be well at the same time. By wishing them well, you give them everything and take nothing from yourself.

Wow.

Caregivers have this little nagging voice inside their heads that tell them that the things they desire most (sleep, eating without interruption, a day off, hell, a vacation) is selfish.

Selfish, selfish, selfish.

That’s what they think–and believe–and it’s so strong a belief that they’re so ashamed that they rarely admit to it. They just do more. Why? Guilt. Guilt for having such horrible thoughts (guilt that they might even fantasize they’re loved one is gone so they can just have a night out at the movies). Guilt is a mean buggar. It needles in and makes you sick. Makes you not talk, not “fess up,” not ask for help. Then comes resentment….and if you’re not careful….apathy. Apathy is another blog in and of itself.

So, I ask you. Who takes takes of you? Who’s in your corner. Who reminds you to slow down, take a breath, put your feet up. Who brings you take out Chinese, rents a movie, tells you you’re amazing. I know, I know, it’s not about you–it’s about your loved one with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, or multiple sclerosis. Yes, it is about them, but it’s about you too. It being about you doesn’t take away from them, that’s what I want you to get! That’s what took me so very long to get!

I hope you have someone. Whether it’s a neighbor, a sister, a daughter (my daughters often reached out to me and I couldn’t have given such care to my mother if it weren’t for their care for me), my encouraging calls from my friend–and most of all, my husband. I had quite a support team and needed everyone of them.

I hope by the time to read this blog that someone comes to mind. Call them. Say thanks. Gratitude is like cardio–it makes the heart stronger.

~Carol D. O’Dell

MOTHERING MOTHER:A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

Kunati Publishing

Available on Amazon and in most bookstores

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