Sometimes, when we send our selves out into the world via the written word it’s hard to gauge the impact.
Sales, yes, those are great (and very helpful on many levels), but when you put something out that’s intended to offer the kind of encouragement and practical solutions for people that OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters is intended to convey,the value of the work is not measured in dollars alone.The human rewards are the real bottom line. Did we really help people? Did the book make a positive difference to someone’s life?
We’ve been lucky to have had a number of people let us know in a variety of ways that it has, which is a huge reward for us — a gift that encourages us to keep going. I was reminded how much a simple, ‘You really helped me’ meant yesterday when I ran into a friend who had read the book. Her husband has been diagnosed with dementia, and the progression of the disease has been very hard on her. When she saw me, she came over and threw her arms around me for a long hug.
“Thanks so much!” she said. (At first I was not quite sure what I was being thanked for, but it came in the next sentence). “What kept coming back to me in the book was your reminding me to breathe. I realized I had been almost holding my breath for such a long time, and discovered that consciously taking deep breaths is a big help. So simple. But it really helps to calm me. I even found a rock that said ‘breathe’ so I bought it and keep it as a reminder.”
This kind of human connection – and that fact that it encourages us all – is what really matters.