Even Now #TuesdayTidbit #Poetry #Inspiration

Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.

Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography

 

 

Even Now

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2022.

 

 

Ten years after his death,

I remember his soft, gentle voice,

tall physique, gray hair, sunglasses,

the blue jeans and t-shirts he wore,

his cologne’s musky scent.

 

I long to see him, smell him, hear him,

my husband of seven years.

The idea that he’s in a better place comforts me.

After suffering two paralyzing strokes,

he can now walk and see better than before.

Maybe someday, we’ll be together and happy forever.

***

The above poem appears in the current issue of The Writer’s Grapevine, which can be downloaded here. My years of caring for my totally blind late husband, paralyzed by two strokes soon after we were married, inspired me to write it. You can click below to hear me read it.

 

Even Now

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New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

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What Did You Do New Year’s Eve #Wednesday Words, #Excerpt

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Two months after Bill and I were married in 2005, we decided to toast the new year with French silk pie from Schwan. At a little before midnight, he served us each a slice of this chocolaty, rich dessert. Then, when he tried to put the pie back in the refrigerator, the dish slipped out of his hand, and the pie ended up on our carpeted kitchen floor. Needless to say, when 2006 arrived, we were cleaning bits of chocolate off the rug. We then ate our slices, laughed, and wished each other a happy New Year, unaware of what the new year would bring.

I don’t know why I didn’t include this in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. But the following excerpt explains how Bill and I celebrated our first Christmas and New Year’s after his first debilitating stroke, when he could no longer slice a French silk pie.

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Christmas was a relatively simple affair compared to Thanksgiving. My uncle and aunt offered to come over on Christmas Day and bring chili. We had no out−of−town relatives visiting, just me, Bill, Dad, Grandma, and my uncle and aunt. It was a nice, quiet holiday. Bill and I rang in the New Year by watching Casablanca.

The past few months were tough at times, but we finally settled into a routine, and I could do most tasks associated with Bill’s care without thinking or worrying too much about them. Bill had recently started outpatient physical and occupational therapy, and I hoped he would develop the strength to do more on his own. However, as we snuggled together in bed after the movie, little did we know what lay ahead.

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By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

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About Me and My Ideal Partner

In a vain attempt at shameless promotion of my new book, I recently completed a Smashwords author interview. Writers can choose from a variety of questions or make up their own. From the questions available on the site, I chose thirteen. Here they are, along with my answers.

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What is your writing process?

You can edit something till the cows come home and never get anything published so here’s what I do. I put down a story or poem without worrying about typographical errors or anything I might want to change later. Then, I go back and edit. Since my late husband was a baseball fan, I’ve adapted the three-strikes-and-you’re-out method. This means I usually read through something at least three times, making changes as I go. I read my work aloud as often as I can during this process. Even after something is published, while reading it again, I always think of something I could have changed so it has to stop somewhere.

How do you approach cover design?

Being visually impaired, if I were to design my own cover, it would look like something the cat dragged in, and I don’t even have a cat. The cover of my first book was designed by the publisher. Subsequent covers consisted of photos taken by friends. So far, all my book covers have turned out pretty well so I’ll always rely on others for this instead of trying to do it myself.

What do you read for pleasure?

I enjoy romances, memoirs, humorous books, and other fiction and nonfiction titles of general interest. I don’t particularly care for horror or fantasy. To each his own.

What is your e-reading device of choice?

Because of my visual impairment, I prefer to use a Victor Reader Stream. This is a little bit bigger than a credit card but fits easily into a pocket. It allows me to download and listen to recorded and printed books in specialized formats from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and Bookshare as well as certain types of text files. I can also enjoy podcasts, music, Internet radio, and more.

Describe your desk.

I use a three-corner desk that flanks two windows in my office. It contains my desktop magnifier, computer with keyboard and modem, a box of Kleenex and various papers, and my printer which sits on top of a station with drawers containing envelopes and other necessities.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

My Ideal Partner is a detailed account of how I met and married my late husband and then cared for him at home for six years after he suffered two strokes that paralyzed his left side.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

When I have a great idea for a poem or story and can get it on a computer screen, that’s the greatest joy of writing for me.

What do your fans mean to you?

My fans mean a great deal to me. If I can inspire or entertain someone, that’s great. If I can show someone he or she is not alone in the world, that’s even better. With My Ideal Partner, I hope to reach out to caregivers and let them know I’ve been in their situation and encourage them to keep on keeping on.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a collection of short stories set in Wyoming, my home state. I got the idea after reading Ann Beattie’s The State We’re in, a collection of short stories set in her home state, Maine. One of the stories in my collection is entitled “Welcome to Wyoming” so that will probably be the title of the collection.

Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite authors are Debbie Macomber and Danielle Steel.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

I think of all the things I need to do, ideas for promoting my book and other projects, etc.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I enjoy reading, listening to podcasts, and going out with friends to a restaurant, concert, or movie. I belong to a women’s singing group that practices once a week and performs occasionally.

How do you discover the eBooks you read?

I find books to read mostly by word of mouth. I follow a couple of blogs that review books regularly, and occasionally, friends recommend books they’ve enjoyed.

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You can read this interview on my author profile page. While you’re at it, you may as well buy a copy of My Ideal Partner for only $3.99. If you’re visually impaired like me and don’t use a Kindle or Nook, Smashwords offers various eBook formats that can be read on a computer or other device.

Do you have any questions about me or my new book? Please leave them in the comments field, and I’ll answer them. Happy reading.

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Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

 

A Caregiver’s Last Day

There comes a time while caring for a loved one when you must make the difficult decision to move him to a nursing home. In September of 2012, Bill was getting weaker, making it difficult for me to transfer him from one place to another. We called in a physical therapist who said that due to Bill’s declining condition, it was no longer safe for me to care for him at home. We looked into the possibility of him moving to Greenhouse, which has a better long-term care concept, but Bill was on Medicaid, and there was a six-month waiting list. We put him on the list and with a heavy heart arranged for him to go to another nursing home for the time being. He never made it to the top of that waiting list, passing a month later.

The following poem talks about our last morning at home before he moved to the nursing home. It was published in Labyrinth: Poems from Wyoming and Beyond, a chapbook produced this year by WyoPoets, a state organization that supports poets and promotes poetry throughout the state. Click this link to hear me read it.

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FOR THE LAST TIME

 

Your leg jerks in pain,

as I put on your socks and underwear.

You wince when I roll you over,

pull up your pants as far as they’ll go.

I put on your shoes, pull you upright,

haul on your hoody, fasten your gait belt,

with a lot of effort, swing you from bed to chair.

We embrace–you’ll begin a new life

where others can more easily care for you.

We’ll always be together.

***

Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems