After reading Finding the Good,, a friend asked me why I wrote the memoir. On the surface, there’s a straight answer. However, the real truth of why I wrote it has two deeper reasons which I barely admitted to myself and disclosed to no one until now.

Larry’s diagnosis of a deadly glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor, while we were on vacation in Alaska, shocked me into a state of numbness. It couldn’t happen to him! To us! It just couldn’t.

The reality is that every day around the world, millions of people face devastating illnesses of loved ones. They face war, death and loss, accidents, violence and more. We weren’t special.    

On a trip back to Denver about six weeks after Larry died, an acquaintance was driving me to Littleton to visit a group of women who were making quilts for nursing homes. As we rode along, a deep sadness filled me for our friends who still had their partners. One day, they would face the devastation I felt.

When that time came, what could I say to make them feel better? How could I help them perhaps survive years of caregiving and eventual loss? What would make it easier for them?

 Even though I didn’t have an answer, three or four years later, I piled all the relevant material I’d kept along with my various journals on my dining room table. I would write a book to tell about my years of caregiving, what I learned, and how I survived. If others saw how important a positive attitude toward a nasty disease helps, maybe it would ease their own battles.

However, I didn’t have the strength to face the challenge of writing the book then. Several years later I discovered a course of study with a focus on writing about trauma. By then, grief had slowly released it’s crippling hold on me. I could write with a message that as bad as it hurt, I survived, and so can you.

Although that was why I thought I was writing it, there were two less obvious reasons why I did it.


Maybe like Elizabeth Custer who didn’t want her flawed husband, General George A. Custer, to be forgotten after his death at the battle of the Little Big Horn, I didn’t want my husband, Larry Chapman, to be forgotten after his gutsy battle against cancer. 

Although Custer failed to follow directions bringing about his own demise as well as many others, we’ll never know the cause of Larry’s tumor.  He never asked, “Why me?”  Instead he said, “Someone will get this disease. Why not me?”  I wanted to honor the memory of that man who I still adored after our 43 years together.

The other reason why I wrote it is simply that the hurt was so deep inside me, I didn’t know what to do with it. It needed to be released in some way. I had to let it go.

Has writing the memoir helped? That’s a question I can’t answer since I have no idea how I’d feel if I hadn’t written it. If this book helps anyone else, maybe I’ll understand the “why” of it all.

So, that’s the real truth of why I wrote it.


My next book, tentatively called “While You Wait: For Caregivers, Travelers, and Women at Loose Ends” may become a card deck rather than a book. I should know within a couple o weeks.

Where I’ll be signing my memoir:

        July 13, a coffee shop in Casper 10:00-2:00 Location to be announced  

        July 20, Wind City Books in Casper 11:00-1:00  Please stop by.

        August 3, Tea Rose in Buffalo, WY  10:00-12:00

        August 10, Central WY Artists & Makers Festival, Mills, WY 10:00-6:00

What I’m reading when I’m not writing:

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner The Bloomsbury Bookstore in 1950’s London has always been run by men, but the girls are about to take over.

Tales of the American West edited by Richard S. Wheeler. Fifteen award winning short stories by some of the best western writers all in print for the first time.

Thanks for being a friend.


P.S. Thanks to everyone who has written a review for me. You’re super! If you haven’t written a review for Amazon or Goodreads, PLEASE do it for me. You can write something up on Word, copy it and paste it to their websites or go to their websites and type it in their review section. If you can’t, I’ll understand and still love you!

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