The one and only Red from The M3 Blog is visiting to talk about the ups and downs of widowhood. She is rather accomplished with a vast range of knowledge achieving more in a day than some do in a lifetime.
I'm going to see if she'll tell me how to do it.
It is my pleasure to offer up a shot of tequila to get her to sit still long enough to talk to us. Her book Killing Us Softly: Becoming the Surviving Spouse of Cancer is classified as self-help but it is far more than that. Have a seat while we chat.
LCB: It's a pleasure to have you take the time out of your day to be here. I know you're busier than anyone else on the planet, so I'll get to it. Are you comfortable?
Red:(smiling) Yes, just hold the lemon and the salt. What do you want to know?
LCB: Killing US Softly is rather intense. The amount of courage it took to write it must have come from somewhere deep within. You are well educated and rational; so rational in fact that you took care of everything while going through the experience of losing a spouse. How did you manage to keep it
Red: There was no other solution. If it fell to pieces, it would be left to me to straighten. I had to do what I had to do regardless of what my husband was doing or not doing. My children needed me: the autistic little ones, the teens, the pregnant one. My husband needed me for all the things he could no
longer do himself. I needed me.
LCB: When you say that you needed you. Do you mean that you had no choice but to make sure you took care of yourself as well?
Red: Yes, all too often caregivers get so wrapped up in the patient and put their care off for a time when the load is lighter. Had I fallen from illness or exhaustion, or allowed the stress to overcome me, I would not have been in a position to help anyone, including myself. I asked for help when and where it was
available and played a lot of Mafia Wars to disengage.
LCB: So you made sure to take time for yourself; everyone should follow that advice. When it came to the children, how did you approach the subject of death?
Red: The older children were a mixed bag: devastated and detached. The teens were as roller coaster as teens are on a tide of hormones and emotion. The little ones processed it pragmatically and slowly. Autism means they do not process in the same way we do, but it does not stop them from coming to grips with the situation in their own way and time.
LCB: You home school them, in addition to writing books, being a life coach and running Redmund Productions, among other things. How do you manage to do so much when most of us need more days in our hours?
Red: (Counts on fingers) Schedule. Rank. Non-negotiables.
I schedule my days to include three hours of OMG! WTF just happened? time. When nothing happens, I use the time to get ahead.
Everyone in my life has a rank. The highest rank is populated by my children. Everyone else falls somewhere down the chain of command.
I will not sacrifice some things. They bring me joy, laughter and sanity.
LCB: You have a wealth of knowledge about a range of things from parenting to coding. It as if you have absorbed knowledge everywhere you went throughout your life. Did that ability to absorb knowledge help you through when you first found out you would be traveling the road of cancer with Russell?
Red: Yes. Not only did I know things, but I also learned things. I asked questions of everyone. I accepted nothing at face value. Anyone who must travel the road of any terminal or mental illness needs to learn as much as possible to ensure they are getting the best care.
LCB: What is the one thing about widowhood everyone should know?
Red: Life is short. When you exchange vows you are not guaranteed this afternoon. Anyone can become a widow in the blink of an eye. Live like it matters. Live deliberately. Make memories. Take pictures. Laugh. Cuddle. Kiss. Hold hands. Talk about nothing. One day, you will look back and be glad you have
those memories because you will no longer have the chance to make them.
LCB: OK you're going to make me cry, so one last question and I'll let you go. Who should read KUS?
There you have it, from the lady herself. Stop by Redmund Productions to get your copy of KUS, and her other vast titles. Learn more about Red and her vast knowledge base by visiting M3 where everything matters and you come away with something more than you came with.
Until next time, may you embrace the memories you make while creating new ones.
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