A letter from Linda Spalla
A month ago, I had the privilege of speaking to my Rotary Club about my new book on caregiving. I was a bit anxious over this experience because the club of almost 400 is largely male. I feared a disconnect. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The interest and feedback was overwhelming and continues to be. I want to share an example.
Yesterday, at my regular Tuesday club meeting, a gentleman who had purchased a book slipped over to my table and bent down to chat with me. (He is a well-known business man in town who has been financially very successful.) He asked me if I was free after the meeting to which I replied, “Sure.” And then he asked if I could come over to his office because he wanted to talk about my book. I found that a bit curious as did the folks sitting around me. One lady friend leaned over and said, “Oh, he wants to finance a movie from your book!!” I knew that wasn’t true, but we had a good laugh.
I left the meeting and as I was driving to his office started rummaging through my skeptical brain about the motive for this visit. I thought perhaps he wanted me to speak for an event he was heading or upon his recent retirement, maybe he wanted to sell me something from a new endeavor. Anyway, I cautiously entered into what became an hour-long discussion.
And I was blown away. He simply and very honestly wanted to tell me how much the book had meant to him, how much he loved his mother, how similar our caregiving journeys had been. He held the book with marked sections as he carefully went through each point he wanted to make. Suddenly, this very successful business man was crying before me, sharing in grief together of past memories of our mothers. Wow! I was touched beyond description. He wants me to start a consulting business on caregiving to which I responded by asking him what in the world I would charge people for, my heart?
We ended by realizing how much we had in common, and I told him how lucky his mother was to have had a son like him. It was a glorious moment in time for me. It struck a chord about how important it is for caregivers to share, to grieve together, to tenderly trace over fond memories in order to fully heal.
What have I learned from this experience? Three revelations:
- Writing about caregiving DOES help people to feel less alone.
- Caregiving does truly touch everyone regardless of gender or economic station in life. It is the great leveler.
- Caregiving uniquely provides the opportunity to find your best self, and that best self is meant to be shared!
Godspeed on your caregiving journey,