I got home from a meeting today and was immediately intrigued by an email in my inbox from an address I didn’t recognize. The email was entitled “You Inspire Me” and began with “thank you for your fabulous book presentation in NJ this week!”. Tim (my unpaid agent and driver) and I spent two days in NJ and had a ball with very intimate groups of folks. Several people in each group had already read my book, and came just to meet and hear me, and have their books signed. I love small groups much more than large groups, because my presentations become discussions as opposed to just me sharing my story and the latest strategies for coping with everything about Alzheimer’s disease. In the second group on Tuesday, a very nice older man took a seat around the conference table and joined the dinner discussion prior to my presentation. He shared that he had just put his wife in the Arden Courts facility where I was speaking, and that his daughter and her family would probably be joining us for the presentation as well. He then shared the horrible news that not only was their family dealing with the challenges of his wife’s Alzheimer’s disease, they were also dealing with his daughter’s breast cancer diagnosis and the start of her chemotherapy treatments. “So unfair” I thought to myself as I listened to his story. Alzheimer’s is enough for a family to handle, why breast cancer too?? I was so grateful that his daughter did come, wearing a face mask to protect herself, and a fashionable scarf around her newly-balding head.
She and I instantly hit it off and during my presentation / discussion and she and her entire family participated in the lively discussion. I felt like we had all shared a deeply meaningful two hours together, and we hugged and hugged as the night ended. The email she sent me today was to let me know she had already finished my book, and how much she loved it and my story. She said that I had really touched her on Tuesday, with my sincerity and positive nature and she immediately started reading the book when she got home. She shared that my book helped her to get through chemo this week, and that she was inspired by my love and commitment to my Mom and to others. Her comments are a first for me! I’ve been told many times that I’ve inspired families to tackle Alzheimer’s head on, but never that I’ve inspired those who are facing other serious issues. I’m stunned, grateful and proud! The lesson I’ve learned this week is that you never know the impact you may have on another person. So I ask you…Who has inspired you this week? Who have you inspired? Keep inspiring others, because it can most definitely help them to Conquer Life, and whatever it may bring!
Thank you, Loretta, for sharing this wonderful reflection of connection and inspiration. ALL of you – you with your ongoing commitment of love and care for your mother, your taking yourself and your message “on the road” to share with others AND this family dealing/reeling from the mother’s dementia with a daughter dealing/reeling with them in her cancer diagnosis and treatment, all heartened by you and your presentation to carry on. Again, inspiration abounds in and through all of you. Thank you again for sharing this!
Thanks Paul!! It’s been Quite the week!! Being on the road has been life changing for me. I’m also grateful that I can actually remember (and cherish) at least one memory from each of the places I’ve spoken, even the very first one in March of 2013. I’m happy that I’ve compiled keepsake books from all of the places I’ve been and all of the people I’ve met. I’m happy to keep inspiring too, because I do believe it IS my calling!
Ret, this was a fabulous read. I have told you before I wish your book had come out before Mom passed away as I could have used a lot of what you have in your book, even though Mom didn’t have Alzheimer’s. Even though it saddens me to think I can use your insight and experiences at some point with Dad, it also lets me know that from reading your book, I can handle things a bit differently than I did with Mom. With the patience and love you have given your Mom, it does inspire others to be more like that, no matter the illness or situation they are dealing with. You are the best and I am so glad you wrote this book and I am so proud of what you have done with it, will continue to do with it. Not everyone can take a situation with a loved one like this and make it a wonderful tool for others when they really need something.
Kris, reading your response to Loretta’s post, indeed, to Loretta, I have only one word: Amen!
Kris, thank you my sister!!!! You know, I think about Jodie many days and the fun times we all had in NY!! LOVED your mom! I’m a big fan of the saying, “we do the best we can!” and that’s especially true when dealing with our parents. But I’m glad you’ve learned some things from me and the book, but as we know, Patience isn’t easy!! Thank you for your undying support for all the things I’ve done during our 23 years of friendship!
As you travel to NY to be with Dad over the next couple of weeks, know that I’ll be with you in spirit through every test and doctor’s report!! Tell Dad we are going to try to bring the RV up this summer!! LOVE you guys, always!!
You are a man of many words, but one of the most important I’ve learned from you is a simple “Amen”, especially when there’s nothing more to be said!! I thank you for all of your support of me and this book!! Who knew you’d be right in your predictions, that great things would happen with this book!! Much love to you!