Friends, in general I try to not make this blog one of those tedious two-a-penny writers’ blogs that boil down to some desperate individual bribing you with gifts and begging “PLEASE b u y m y b o o o o o o o o o k!!!”
But hey, one can always make an exception! :0D
Back in 2010 I wrote a book called Learning to Let Go. I will spare you the details of why this is not getting into the right hands, though the reasons are all too evident to me. Suffice it to say, it is not.
Normally, I don’t mind when that happens – and for myself I don’t mind about this book either. But it troubles me a little that there are people out in the Wide Wild World who would be really helped if they stumbled across this book, and so far it isn’t happening. The thing is, there is no other book quite like it, as far as I’m aware, and it addresses a situation where people urgently need guidance and help in their decision-making.
Learning To Let Go is about making the transition into residential care.
Who’s it written for?
Well, it’s for people who work in care homes, chaplains of residential care homes, people who can see that the time that they can manage in their own home is running out because of life-limiting illness or profound disability or a degenerative condition. And it’s for relatives of people in that situation.
When someone has to leave their own home – not for a spell in hospital because of an illness with a good expectation of recovery, but for the last time – this is an experience of profound bereavement, and usually regarded with fear and dread.
Learning To Let Go is written to help make the best of these circumstances.
The chapters are as follows:
- ØStarting to think about a care home, which examines helpful criteria and questions to ask in choosing the right home.
- Ø Families and friends, which looks at some real-life stories and then goes into the human and relational issues to be considered.
- Ø Affirming people as unique individuals, which explores the why and how of protecting individuality as a vital aspect of spiritual care.
- Ø The people and the place, which differentiates between what to look for in the staff of a care home, and what to look for in the regime and building, to get the best fit for the person who will be living there.
- Ø Learning to let go begins now, which makes some suggestions of realistic life choices we can all put in place to prepare ourselves for the vulnerability of growing old or the possibility of life-limiting illness.
Pam Rhodes, a UK TV personality, says in her foreword to the book:
“How I wish I’d had this book a couple of years ago! That’s when the physical and mental health of my own much-loved mum deteriorated to the degree that it became clear that living in our home as part of our family was no longer safe for her – or possible for us . . .
. . . Pen Wilcock comes to the situation from so many angles because she’s been a chaplain in a hospice, a care assistant for the terminally and chronically sick, and a pastor in churches where the congregation was mostly in the older age group. She has listened, watched, observed, and finally managed to draw up some sensitive, empathetic and constructive thoughts on the complex set of emotions and circumstances which bring individuals and families to the reality that either they, or perhaps one of their parents, need to consider moving into sheltered or residential care. She recognizes the impact on the family, the fear on all sides, the need for trust and boundaries, respect and dignity. She touches on grief, loss, relief, love, opportunity, loneliness, friendship, the future – and so much more. She looks at the role of care staff and the importance of their kindness, patience and ability to see the precious individual within an ageing body. And she affirms the intricate, wondrous mix of mind, body and soul that is the miracle of each and every human being.You can read this book on so many levels – as a textbook packed full of good and practical ideas; as a comfort to reassure you that you’re not alone in this challenging emotional situation; and last, quite simply, as a really good ‘read’ that will keep you glued from page to page. This is one book you won’t want to let go.”
So, there you have it, chums. At home I have four spare copies to give away, so if you can think of someone who would be helped by this book, send me their address in a comment and I’ll mail a copy on. Once all four have gone I’ll post a comment to say so, giving the names but not addresses of those who will receive a copy.
Frustratingly, in neither Amazon UK nor US Amazon can you search inside, and there is no Kindle edition available. But it is in print in paperback and should be available for you to order on Amazon here in the UK and here in the US.
(if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)
Another hat that I didn’t think really worked on me. I mean, I’m not big on looking cool as anyone who knows me can tell at a glance. But even I have limits.