Thank you for reading my blog. Yes, you who are reading this right now. I have benefited from the support in this blogging community and would like to give support in return by offering a once per month guest post.
So, today I’d like to introduce you to a wonderful member of our blogging community.
Joy and I have followed each other for a long time. When I first met her, she had recently lost her father and started a blog in remembrance of him. She soon had an ailing mother who needed her help. That’s when things got really rough, and her blog changed shape from there. Her experiences with her parents catapulted her into promoting advocacy for caregivers to which she also volunteers her time. Now, she’s even wrote a book about those experiences. I’ll let her tell you the rest.
Not everyone is born a natural caregiver.
As a thirty-something career woman, I was focused on my job as a journalist and concerned about finances. I am not a mother, and have never even changed a baby’s diaper. I have pets, but scooping a litter box, taking the dog for a walk, and filling food bowls is a far cry from the complexities of motherhood.
Then my parents became ill. My father developed dementia, and I watched from afar as my mother struggled to care for him, as I live in Georgia and my parents retired in New Mexico. Eventually, he ended up in a memory care center, and died within a year. I was still grappling with the grief and guilt surrounding my father’s death when my mother suddenly fell ill six months later.
My mother was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer and required emergency surgery. As an only child, I had no choice but to step up and fill the family caregiver shoes, though I felt woefully unprepared for the role. Over the next year, I quit my job and temporarily moved to New Mexico to help with my mother’s recovery. I learned more about my mother — and myself — than I ever imagined possible.
The Reluctant Caregiver is a collection of essays I wrote over the span of several years about the trials and tribulations of caregiving. I believe the book will resonate with younger family caregivers who may find the task especially challenging. The essays explore raw emotions in unfiltered fashion, and some essays contain language that some may find objectionable. I hope readers will be moved by these stories, to laugh, to cry, and to get angry at the injustices in our health care system. I also hope you will be moved to become a caregiver advocate, because if I learned anything from this experience, it is that caregivers are not valued nearly enough in our society. If you’d like to learn more, follow my blog, The Memories Project, and visit my website.
Joy Johnston is an experienced digital journalist who has covered everything from terrorist attacks to the cat that’s Donald Trump’s doppelgänger. She received the 2015 Rick Bragg Prize for Nonfiction from the Atlanta Writers Club. Her work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and other anthologies. She writes about dementia and caregiving on her blog, The Memories Project, and is a featured author on The Caregiver Space.
Digital copy available for free for your blog followers:
Note: Paperback version to be available soon.