Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Forever a Caregiver

Well, it took me ten years but I wrote a book! This is my first book and I could bore you with a gazillion disclaimers (just ask those closest to me), but instead I want to tell you about it and how I came to write it.

Mom was diagnosed with cancer in July twelve years ago and within two months had died. I think I remember every moment of that two month period of my life. I helped care for Mom during this time but it wasn’t the first time she leaned on me. She had debilitating depression when I was a teenager and I was her support then, too. There were a few times of also caring for Dad but, in my family, loyalty to both parents at the same time was not an option. As the oldest girl with two younger brothers, caring for Mom and Dad was up to me. (There are many men who are caregivers but, in my experience, if there is a girl in the family – the caregiving role goes to her.)

After Mom died, I felt the need to write about our experiences. I wanted people to know that families can be messed up and dysfunctional but it’s your family. Don't worry, this is not a book about forgiveness – there is no need for it. It’s a story about coming to appreciate my family crazy as it was (and by crazy, I mean periods of actual crazy) and also accepting my role in the family (as the caregiver).

For years, this book was bursting out of me and I wrote it the best I could. I changed the title several dozen times (I have pages of potential titles to prove it) but nothing seemed to fit.

Until I started caring for Robert.

Then it hit me – I was caregiving for Mom all those years although I didn’t even realize it at the time. I accept that as my role in the family. In fact, I have found profound fulfillment from that caregiving role so wouldn’t change a thing.

I am Forever a Caregiver.

This is my first book so forgive me if it’s not the greatest book you’ve ever read (did you think I wouldn’t slip in at least one disclaimer?). One of my favorite quotes (and I’m terrible about remembering who said it) but it is something like “I may not be able to write a book as well as Shakespeare, but I can write a book by me.”

I’d love for you to purchase my book, Forever a Caregiver (you can find it here or on the sidebar), and would love for you to tell me what you think. Have you had to forgive your family or do you accept them for who they are? Do you struggle with your family roles? I’d love to hear about your own family experiences.

Thank you so much for indulging me in this bit of shameless self-promotion.


Unknown said...

You might as well be MY sister. This book will no doubt bring loads of tears and the joy that comes from knowing you haven't been alone. Funny how we find each other when we are truly ready to hear.

bccmee said...

Wow, massive congratulations for your first book! When can we pre-order your second one?

Kathy Lowrey said...

Are you doing a book tour?
How do I get an autograph copy?
Are we related?!!

Heidi Alberti & Atticus Uncensored said...

I am so so happy for you and proud of you, Trish! We all have a book in us, but to actually finish, edit & publish --- well, that's a different story :)

I'm really looking forward to seeing you next week & getting my hands on a copy! I believe you can make a big splash within the caregiver community with your book (now it's all about marketing!!)

Beaming with happiness for you --
Heidi & Atticus
"commentary to give you paws..."

Other Brother said...

Great job! I'm so proud of my big sister!

Laine D. said...


I always tell people that the greatest thing they can aspire to do is to inspire someone else. You've already transcended that goal - you are obviously destined to inspire many, many people.

You are not only being a Caregiver to the ones you love but nurturing a whole population to value Caregivers and potentially step up to the role, and all with humor, humanity and self deprecation.

A true inspiration! Congratulations Author :D

Laine D.
"Aspire to Inspire"

Louise Edington said...

Well done Trish! I am in awe! I have difficulty with the idea of being a caregiver - I think I'm so co-dependent that I would lose myself in the role and have nothing left for me. I have been a care-giver at times but never for a long stretch. I guess I'll find out if it ever presents itself.
Louise Edington
Breaking Through Online Frontiers

Judy, The Reflective Writer said...

I'm so thrilled to know you Trish, both to connect with the beautiful energy you put forth and to join in celebrating this wonderful moment of achievement. Even more than achievement, this book is about you owning and claiming yourself and your family.

As for women being the caregivers when available--you are so right! My husband watches his sister carry the burden for their mother, and although he feels somewhat ashamed, he understands that their roles have always been different in the family. We are but small supports to her huge job.

Congratulations!! Now--do we have to work on stopping these disclaimers??? You have nothing to apologize for!

Judy Stone-Goldman
The Reflective Writer
Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Judy, How do I get rid of the disclaimers? They come so naturally! :-) There are many men who are fantastic caregivers but it does seem the actual day-to-day role traditionally goes to the woman in the family. We all have our roles and our strengths and this is what works for my family. Acceptance of that was the proverbial light bulb going off for me. I really appreciate your support, Judy.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Thank you, Louise! One of the hardest tasks of caregiving is remembering to give yourself a break and taking care of yourself. It's a balancing act. Plus, Louise, you are never one to back down from a challenge so if you had to, I'm sure you'd give it your all.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Laine, I don't know what to say. I am humbled by your faith in me. Thank you so much. (I like the sound of that: "author"). :-)

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Thanks, Other Brother! Your support means the world to me. Hope you like the book. :-) Love you with all my heart.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Heidi, I can't wait to show it to you! I definitely will need help marketing (although it sure helps that Bill bought two!). Thank you for your support, Heidi, and for including me in this wonderful group of bloggers!

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Kathy, A book tour is a great idea! Then I could actually meet all my new caregiving and blogger friends all over the country. I think you'll like the book - there's a story about our family vacations to the Ozarks (although I don't know how close you are to that beaautiful place).

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Thanks, BccMee! I'll definitely try to finish the second book in less time than it took for this one. One book a decade isn't going to cut it! :-)

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Bill, What you said is so true! We do find just the right people when we are ready. So thankful for your friendship. Hope you like the book!

G-J said...

Congratulations on your book! How exciting! I'm looking forward to reading it.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Thank you so much, G-J. I really appreciate your support (and actually don't know how you'll have time to fit in reading this with everything you do!). :-)

Fiona Stolze said...

Trish, what particularly strikes me is that you say you wouldn't want to change a thing. What admirable love and dedication you bring to this role. And what obvious fulfilment you get from it.

You truly are an inspiration.

Fiona Stolze

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Thank you, Fiona! You have taught me so much about being authentic and true to oneself. I think I found the CD group just as I was realizing/admitting what fulfilled me. We really inspire each other! :-)

June Sockol said...

Congrats on your book Trish! You'll be an inspiration to other Caregivers. You'll have to let us know if you're doing a book tour so we can come out to support you :)

Fierce Over 50 said...

I am in awe of you both for actually doing what many of us think about or wish we could do which is to write that book. And also for just doing what you do. You should feel very proud and you should also give yourself credit for stepping up when others might not have done. Congrats on the book and congrats on being a wonderful kind and caring person

Julie Labes: The Fun-Loving, Feisty, Fearless, Frisky, Fierce Over 50 Traveler

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Thank you, Julie. I have to tell you that I appreciate the extra attention you give to disabled travelers through your travel agency. The information you provide is so helpful.

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

June, I should do a book tour so I can meet all my fantastic online blogging buddies! I don't have one planned but it would be super fun to do.