24 November 2018
Welcome to SCAN
Saturday is for Sharing
Our Conversations With the Authors
Lynda McKinney Lambert & Miss Opal
Our Special Guest today is…
Miss Opal: Mary, please give us some information about your new book, released by DLD Books.
Mary: Yes, I’d love to talk with you about my book:
The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: a Daughter’s Memoir
I am happy to say that our friends can purchase my book on-line through most book sellers. The link to the Amazon site to learn more about my book and read my reviews for my book is:Check it out here
Lynda: I was wondering if you have an Author’s Website where our readers can go for more information on you and your books?
Mary: Yes, I do! The editors of my book created a beautiful web page for me. Our readers can find it by clicking onto this link: Mary Hiland Author Website Page
I am proud to tell you that my book was recorded and is available for blind and handicapped readers through BARD. It is listed as DB:91261.
Lynda: Where are you from Mary? Do you still live where you were born or have you moved from that place? Mary: I am a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. And currently I live in Gahanna, Ohio with my Seeing Eye ® dog, Dora. Readers can learn more about where Dora came from by visiting the Seeing Eye website: Here!
Miss Opal: I understand you have a wonderful dog named Dora. Can you tell us more about her? I am a little bit nervous about dogs, but Dora seems really sweet. I noticed she is staying right beside you and she looks very friendly.
Mary, Miss Opal, you don’t have to worry about Dora. Isn’t she a lovely dog? She was happy to get to come along with me today and she did not mind walking in the rain. Did you notice her new raincoat?
Miss Opal: Yes, I am glad you brought Dora with you today.
I was also thinking about your writing career.
Have you had your writings published in other places before you wrote your new book?
Mary: I’ve had my writing published in Chicken Soup for the Parent’s Soul; Red Book Magazine; The Toastmaster Magazine; and The Columbus dispatch.
JUST FOR FUN
Lynda: In our “Just for Fun” section, I want to ask you a few questions that Opal and I thought about before you arrived today.
When did you decide to “grow up” or “Never grow up?” What does “growing up” mean to you?
Mary: I’ll say that my wedding day or the day I gave birth to my first child was the day I grew up, but they both paled in comparison to the day I signed the papers to commit my mother to assisted living. I was making decisions for another person’s lifestyle for the rest of her life. It felt like the most grownup thing I had ever had to do. I chose her residence, her room, her meal plan, her activities, her level of care, and the day she would go to the beauty shop. Role Reversals had just begun.
Lynda: I love the photos of you dancing in a bright red dress. You look so happy. Do you have a favorite dance partner? What kind of dancing do you enjoy doing with that person?
Mary: My dance partner was my teacher, Mark Miller. Although I was his first blind student, in fact, his first student on his first day at the studio. Just imagine what he thought when the universe threw this at him. But he naturally verbalized every step, every move, as if he had been doing it for years. He was kind, patient, and respectful. We laughed together when I made mistakes. He led with the skill I had never experienced with any other partner. He expected excellence from me, which made me try even harder. I loved almost every dance he taught me, but the one I especially enjoyed was the East Coast Swing. The steps are complicated, and you have to keep your mind on the dance every second, but you feel yourself smiling every second too. If you get through the whole song without a mistake, you feel like a pro.
Miss Opal: What have you done recently that really made you feel good about yourself?
Mary: When my friend was to undergo an extremely serious surgery last year, and she was describing it to me on the phone, I heard a voice in my head say, “Go to her.” I am not a nurse, nor have I ever taken care of anyone just home from having surgery. But there I was, asking her, “Do you want me to come and help you when you get home?” I was terrified when she said, “I would love it if you would,” but I knew it was the right thing to do. I had to fly to Florida, learn my way around her house, and jump right in with getting her ready for bed. In the morning on the first day, I asked her if she wanted coffee, and of course she did, and lots of it. I was happy to bring her the coffee in bed. As the week progressed, so did she, which pleased us both. By the end of the week, when I asked her if I could make her a coffee, she said, “No thanks, I can get it myself.” I felt I had helped her regain some of the independence she treasures, which is just as important to her as regaining her strength.
Lynda: Describe a phone call that surprised you recently. Who called?
Mary: It had been on my mind for several years. I needed to apologize to someone for something I said to him in an email. I had written it in haste, and at the time, I thought it was necessary to make a point. A few years later, he saw me in a restaurant and came over to say hello and introduce me to his grandson. He was cheerful and funny, and it filled my heart with half a joy. It appeared that he had forgiven me. Or had he forgotten? I promised myself I would contact him and apologize for my angry letter, but I made one excuse after another. Even though I had asked for God’s forgiveness, I hadn’t asked for his, and it was nagging at me. Then I accidentally found his phone number and dialed immediately, praying that he wouldn’t answer, so I could leave a message before I lost my nerve. The voicemail answered, and I calmly but sincerely said what I needed to say. The next day, he called and I answered. “You have no idea,” he said, “what joy I felt in hearing your voice.” Joy? Really? There was the other half of the joy I had been needing all those years.
Additional Thoughts About Mary’s Book
When her mother, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, had to move into assisted living, it was time for Ms. Hiland, who is totally blind, to step up and assume the duties and role reversals required for her mother. The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living, a Daughter’s Memoir is her first book.Synopsis:
Making the decision to move an elderly parent into assisted living against her will has myriad challenges. Like many adult children who want to respect their parents’ wishes, I didn’t take action until it was crucial. But unlike most adult children, I had to deal with this crisis as an only child who is totally blind. The logistics alone were only the start of my uphill struggle with this task.
For the last two years of her life, I learned many lessons about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and she learned to accept the difficulties of being 98 and living in an assisted living community.
Mary: In The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living, A Daughter’s Memoir, I describe not only the move, her adjustment to a foreign way of life, and the emotional trauma for both of us, but also some advice and comfort for others experiencing this inevitable change.
What makes my story unique is that I tell it with blindness always in the background. You will find some touching moments, some troubling, and some relative to your own life.
This is a memoir woven through my observations of who my mother was and who I am.
Contact: Mary Hiland 439 Canterwood Ct. Gahanna, OH 43230
This series, Saturday is for Sharing, is brought to you by the courtesy of Miss Opal and Pennsylvania author, Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2018. All rights Reserved.
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