The featured film and special event scheduled for the period of March 2-8, 2018, at Edmond Town Hall....Read Full Article
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Decades before Newtown resident and author (Caryn) CJ Golden was thrust into the position of primary caregiver when her husband, Joe, suffered a series of cancer-induced strokes, she was already exhibiting a penchant for taking good care of others as an educator working with sight- and hearing-impaired children in the relatively new scholastic world of special education.
Ms Golden recently released her third book, titled One Pedal at a Time, which she subtitled, A Novice Caregiver and Her Cyclist Husband Face Their New Normal with Courage, Tenacity, and Abundant Love. And she will be discussing and signing her new publication, along with offering some stimulating conversation, during an Edmond Town Hall appearance on Thursday, March 8.
The special event will run from 7 to 8:30 pm in the Old Court Room.
In a chat with The Newtown Bee ahead of that free public event, Ms Golden promised the evening discussion would benefit patients and caregivers alike, as well as those who have not yet been in the position.
“Caregiving is a difficult and often lonely task and there is much we can all learn about lending support — both physically and emotionally,” she said.
Ms Golden, who also spent part of her career working on stage, and in film and television, as well as handling some administrative and marketing duties for the now defunct Candlewood Playhouse theater in New Fairfield, told The Bee that she never realized how the dire illness or passing of a loved one often has a profound effect on one’s circle of friends.
“I guess it’s stigmatizing, but not in the way we often think of it,” she said. “People become uncomfortable when a spouse passes, or a child is lost, a husband becomes very ill. It’s an uncomfortable thing to talk about and most people don’t know what to say or how to approach it.”
As Ms Golden was embedded with her husband when he was first being treated in the hospital, she had one friend who would greet her at Joe’s door almost every morning with a hot cup of coconut milk cappuccino.
“But she knows me very well, and when you’re very close you kind of understand what to do,” she said. “I had a friend whose spouse passed while Joe was in the hospital, and we had this conversation. So many people don’t say anything because they don’t know what to say, or they say something that we think in the moment may sound trite or stupid. But we need to realize that at least they are saying something — and it’s the best they can do. We need to cut them some slack.”
The Goldens found that they were meeting many total strangers who “appeared out of nowhere to help,” and at the same time discovered many others who they were close to “who completely disappeared.”
“Of course at first I was angry, but I can’t hold onto that. We’re all here in our individual worlds doing the best we can to cope with everyday life in the best ways we can,” she said. “But when I feel I don’t know the right thing to say to you, I say ‘I’m here.’ And that’s all anyone really needs to say.”
While Ms Golden’s experience supporting the eventual recovery of her husband was life changing, she confided that one of the most affecting situations that made her the woman, friend, author, and caregiver she is today actually occurred when she first learned she was going to be a grandmother.
“When I was told our daughter was pregnant, I hung up the phone with a roaring headache, crawled under the covers, and thought there is no way in heck that I was going to be a grandmother,” she recalled.
But in reconnecting with the Taoist principles she had learned years earlier in college, she rediscovered and began effectively applying their practical application to her own modern life. That rediscovery not only got her through the transition to being a loving, caring grandmother, but inspired her first book, The Tao of the Defiant Woman.
“I came to the conclusion that you either accept the aging process and go with it, and enjoy it, or stay under the covers for the rest of your life,” she admitted. “And what a waste that would be.”
Her new book follows the yearlong journey of Joe who was, and is again, a long-distance cyclist during and after his cancer-induced strokes.
Presented in three parts, Ms Golden shares her accessible and honest experience, a balanced mix of somber reflections and light moments that highlight a very real passage in the lives of a husband and wife who love each other unequivocally.
As caregiver, Golden holds nothing back because she wants others who are unexpectedly thrown into the role of caregiver to know they are not alone.