Will You Help Me?

May I ask you for a favor?

I’ve shared with you a variety of stories about our family in both this blog and my book A Path Revealed. Although you may identify with our story, it still is not your story. Your story has aspects that ours never will, and your insights could be of value to others.

I have this gut feel that it’s time now to make this blog more participatory among its hundreds of readers. I would like you to consider telling us your story. What problem(s) are you facing? What’s working for you and what’s not? What are you doing to try to move forward? What’s frustrating you? You may or may not have gone into the spiritual as I have; that’s fine. I’m looking for folks willing to tell others what they’re doing to survive.

Before going any further, let me relieve you of a possible worry. No, you do not have to write this! I will interview you and write the post. I’ll get into more of that in a moment.

This request may be asking you to step outside your comfort zone. Months ago, I revealed what this was like for me in this post: It’s Not Real Comfortable Outside Our Comfort Zones, Is It? But That’s Where Growth Comes. I share a quote that’s purportedly by Flannery O’Connor, the Southern Gothic writer: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.” To be as authentic as I could in telling our story, I wound up feeling “odd.” What happened with Martha, our children, and me was far from what had been “normal” in our previous lives.

              Our family Thanksgiving 2015

             Our family Thanksgiving 2015

What I’m saying is this: if telling your story to others makes you uncomfortable then you’re no different than the rest of us. It takes courage to share. But sharing may very well be of more value to you than to others. It could bring you greater insight and understanding than you’ve had by keeping it to yourself. That’s been the case with me.

Here are some guidelines to this experiment, which I hope we can make work:

  • You talk and share; I will write.
  • You may remain anonymous in the published post, if you desire.
  • Your specific crisis or journey may be current or past.
  • Your issue does not have to be about Alzheimer’s, as ours is, or about an illness. It could be about working through a financial crisis or a relationship gone bad. A question our readers will want to know is: What have you done or are doing to work through your issue and to survive?
  • I will ask you questions that will be kick-starters for our conversation.
  • I will let you see my draft before it’s published to check for errors and misunderstandings on my part. 
  • What’s the process? Typically we’ll talk by phone for 30 minutes or so; while working on the draft I may email you some follow-up questions; I’ll send you the draft for review; it will be posted on the scheduled date.
  • In writing the draft, I will follow the guideline I’ve set for myself: Share! Don’t preach!
  • Don’t think you must have found all the answers before sharing. I still haven’t. It’s as important for someone to see your struggle as it is to see any resolution.

I’ll typically write your story in the style I’ve written mine: As one survivor sharing his or her story over a cup of coffee with another survivor.

I hope this intrigues you enough to step outside your comfort zone. If so, please email me that you’re interested in doing this and I will get in touch. My email: carlen@carlenmaddux.com.

Also, you may have a friend or family member who’s not signed up for my blog but who’s willing to share his or her story; feel free to pass this along. If they would like to sign up for my blog, it’s free…just click here.

Let’s make our stories what they’re meant to be: An agent of healing for ourselves as well as for others.

Thank you,

PS1>A quick reminder: I’ll be sharing our story this coming Tuesday, April 4th, in St. Petersburg at 12 noon. Location: The Cathedral Church of St. Peter in the Parish Hall; 4th Street and 2nd Ave. N. Entrance is on the 2nd Ave. side. Admission is free; they offer a light lunch for $5.

PS2>Knoxville, TN. Thursday, May 18th. I’m talking at an Alzheimer’s Tennessee Inc. meeting. It will be a half-day morning session with lunch in which I and others will be speaking. If you’d like more info, email me at carlen@carlenmaddux.com and I will send you their flyer.

PS3>I continue to be amazed at how much my book is getting around, as I described in my last post. Friends, and friends of friends, keep telling me they’re buying extra copies for family and friends and for their book clubs. Thank you yet again. If you haven’t read it and would like to, you can order it at any bookstore or buy it here: A Path Revealed: How Hope, Love, and Joy Found Us Deep in a Maze Called Alzheimer’s.