Welcome Guest – Maggie Brendan!!!

While I was writing Trusting Grace and beginning to develop the character of my heroine’s ailing father, it was as if God himself intruded into the sub-plot development with His own idea and what I was about to type totally changed. You know, it’s been said that a piece of an author finds its way into their writing subconsciously. Either way—in my proposal, I had the ailing father suffering from a stroke, but when I began to write about his symptoms it seemed God had other ideas in mind so I went with it. Who wouldn’t when the creator of the world wrote His love story to us?

The centerpiece of my historical romance story is about learning to trust and about finding love again for my heroine and hero who were both widowed. It speaks to the depth of how their characters faced trials through dependence on God. However, as the sub-plot eked onto the page, I finally acknowledged that I would need to do a little research before I went any further—something I hadn’t intended to do. To give you a little background—for five years my husband has suffered from a chronic and rare disease, CIDP, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy. It was clear God wanted me to make CIDP the heroine’s father’s illness and not merely a stroke. Could that have even been a possibility during this historical time frame of 1866? I laughed. I rather doubted it, but to my complete surprise I found that CIDP had its beginning as Multiple Neuritis discovered by Robert Graces in 1843 when little was known about the disease. I also found that some experts believe Franklin D. Roosevelt may have suffered from CIDP instead of polio. Wow, God! You knew all along. I smiled and went back to writing.

So what only started out with a story of love and loss for the hero and heroine also became a story of a father/daughter relationship battling illness with lovingkindness and the resilience of the caregiver, my heroine, Grace. It’s very true that God gives us more grace than we deserve, but even more so when we are facing huge battles whether it is death, illness, loss of love, job, financial or spiritual crisis. It was no mistake that three years before when I sent this series proposal to my editor, I called my heroine Grace.

One thing I’ve always enjoyed while writing was the research and it’s easy to get lost in it. So for all you historical writers of the West, when a random or crazy plot line you think couldn’t possibly work for your story, dig deeper into your research. Hopefully, you’ll be wildly surprised as I was and can add that to your novel.

If my story of love, hope, trust and restoration can help anyone who is a widow or have a spouse with a chronic illness help lift their spirits and give them insight, then I’ve written what I was supposed to write.

I’m giving away a copy of Trusting Grace-only in the US, please-for those who comment. The winner will be randomly selected by Petticoats and Pistols.

Have you been a caregiver for an ailing family member? What was the biggest challenge, and how did you overcome?

Guest Blogger

31 Comments

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  1. I helped my mother care for her husband. He had cancer. It was tough because he often did not know what he was doing.

    1. Debra~I know this must have been hard for you but I’m so glad you were able to support your mother in that way. I’m sure it meant a lot to her. Bless you!

  2. My husband had COPD(chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) for 15 years before he passed away in October 2015.
    He had been a very active man before the disease and it was very hard to watch him struggle to do things he loved.
    The last 3 years he was basically housebound—-he loved being outside.

    1. Estella, my sympathy for your loss, especially of a spouse. I can’t even imagine. It’s very hard for me to as you said, to see a very active person struggle. My husband has good days and bad days where he has no energy whatsoever. Other times, he’s creates small projects to work on and does them on his own timetable. I’m very grateful that he is still mobile, may sufferes of CIDP are in wheelchairs or worse. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  3. My husband had a stroke about 15 years ago but he pulled through. It was rough for a while. Now he works full time and is pretty good shape. He does have some memory loss from the stroke and can’t read as well as he used to but does ok. I have not read your work before but looking forward to reading this book.

    1. I’m so glad for you that your husband can work and him too. That’s so important. My hubby had to retire. He had hoped to work until 72, but God had other plans. It was a very difficult diagnose to receive. He did work for a while but the long hours were too much for him. I hope if you don’t win a copy that you’ll check out my books.
      Blessings to you!

  4. My mother had back surgery and then fell and broke her hip requiring surgery. She didn’t come back to us mentally after the last surgery. No one knows until they walk in the shoes of a caregiver.

    1. Melanie, you’re absolutely right! I’ve heard that if a personal breaks a hip after 60 or so, they are never the same again. Sounds like this is true in your case. I’m so sorry but glad that you are there for here, despite the stress of being giving a caregiver. God bless!

      1. Lol. Seems like I need to increase my font size. Excuse any typos!

  5. yes, I love it when research surprises you! Thanks for sharing. We are trying to care for my mother-in-law who has changed dramatically after losing her husband a few months ago. I think the hardest part is remembering to be patient with her. It certainly isn’t easy to help others in this way!!

    1. Susan, I can attest to that! There are times when hubby is too tired to do anything, but I get tired too just trying to juggle everything. Patience is a virtue ~ as evidence in my book, The Trouble with Patience. Pray for God to give you the patience you need daily as a caregiver. One day, each of us may personally have to face that we will need our own caregiver. God bless you on this journey.

  6. Never been a caregiver for an ailing relative.

    1. Hi Kim~I hope that you never have to be. It’s difficult but it is doable with God’s help.

  7. What a beautiful cover… I did help for a short time taking care of my grandfather… I was overwhelmed.

    1. Colleen, that’s understandable. Until you go through caregiving, it’s hard to comprehend. My situation is not as bad as some of those who’ve posted. When my mother was in a nursing home 7 1/2 hours away, it was very difficult and hard on us. The weeks I spent by her side broke my heart. My hubby’s mother died and we were there with her when she passed, but most of the work fell on my brother-in-law during that long stretch of time since he lived there, unfortunately. We can’t thank him enough.

  8. I’ve never been a caregiver for an ailing family member. But I can imagine the sacrifices of love one would give to do it and how hard it would be both physically and emotionally! It would certainly make me cling closer to God 🙂

    I’m sure back in the 1800’s, there were many of the chronic illnesses we have today, but they didn’t know about it like we do now. We’ve come a long way in our medical knowledge and how to treat things. In fact, we have a woman in our church who just went through stem-cell replacement therapy for her cancer treatment. She had other things done too, but I am just amazed at all the ways Doctors can fight diseases nowadays!

    This is also my favorite time period to read about. Historical being my top favorite genre! I have a copy of “The Trouble With Patience” on my shelf & the Overdrive digital library system at my library has all three ebooks in this series. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of “Trusting Grace”, it sounds terrific! Thanks also for sharing how God already prepared you for writing this book, I love seeing God work that way! Blessings!

    1. Trixi, thank you for posting. It was a fascinating piece of history and perfect timing for my story, although it was a newly discovered disease, most had never heard of it. It’s so rare that most people today have never heard of it either. I hope it will minister to those with CIDP and others with immune disorders to take hope and lean on God for those hard times.

  9. Welcome back to P&P, Maggie! Great to have you visit. Loved your blog. That’s so interesting. I’ve never heard of that disease.

    Love the cover of your new book! The pretty colors and model draw me.

    1. Thank you Linda. It’s always fun to participate on P&P. On the disease ~ I wish I’d never heard of it. 🙁 I chose the dress and Revell had it made for the cover. They always give me gorgeous covers and allow my input. So glad you like it.

  10. My dad had Alzheimer’s. It is a horrible disease. It was very difficult taking care of my dad. Very tiring, overwhelming, sad etc… Would not have missed out on taking care of him. God is the only answer. I turned to him for peace and comfort.

    1. Mary,I’m so glad you had your faith. What would we do without it? You had a very difficult responsibility but you stepped up to the plate for your dad, and you found the strength you needed to care for him. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease. My sister-in-law was the director for years (until just this week) for a company with facilities for Alzheimer patients. I went to work with her a couple times, and it was sad but she made their lives seem valuable and did many activities with them. So I saw it first hand. It takes a special kind of heart and energy to care for these individuals. God bless you for enduring.

  11. Hi Maggie, It is so good to see you here. The cover on your new book is beautiful.

    Yes, I took care of my Mom for about six years. If it weren’t for my husband’s helping me I would have had to quit my job to do so as I promised her when I was 14 years old I would never put her in a nursing home. I kept that promise even though the last four months of her life were difficult. She lived in the house next door to us so it was easy to go there in a moments notice. The last four months my husband took turns spending the night with her so we could help her get up and down in the night. My Mom passed away on 02/01/17 and I would continue to take care of her if she were still with me. She was tired and ready to go home to be with Jesus and now she has no more pain or discomfort.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    1. I meant to say “my husband took turns with me spending the night with her”.

      Too add, Parkinson’s is a terrible disease. She died of complications of that disease. She told the nurse her last day in the hospital that she wanted to go home and the nurse told her when the doctor tells her she can. Then my Mom told her, “no, I mean I want to go home and be with Jesus, but my kids don’t want me to go”. When the nurse told me it broke my heart. My husband and I wemt home for some much needed rest and I cried out to God telling him that while it hurt so bad, I was ready to let her go, if in His timing, this was the time. I received a call shortly after from the nurse telling me it was time. We ‘flew’ the half mile to the hospital and when I got there the nurse said, “you are just in time”. I saw her vitals were still on the screen but barely. I took her hand and said, “Mom, we’re here. We love you. It’s okay to go home and be with Jesus.” At that point she quietly padded.

      Thank you for allowing me to share here today. I have tears flowing right now because not only did I lose my Mom, she was also my best friend.

      1. Okay, one more time. I meant to type “At that point she quietly passed”. I couldn’t see through my tears.

        1. Cindy, God bless you for sharing your heartache. I saw your post last night but was at Bible Study cookout, then church, lunch today, etc. I know you will treasure the time you had with her forever. The Good News is you will see her again and that makes it all worthwhile. I sat my mother’s bed in the nursing home in MS for 2 weeks and she was talking very little. I had to return to Georgia but hadn’t been home more than 2 days and they told me to come back. We drove the 7 1/2 hrs. back to MS. When we crossed the Alabama line, I saw the most spectacular sunset I’d ever seen and said to my husband. “Wonder what it’s like for Mama in Heaven?” You see I knew, my mother had entered Heaven’s gates but I couldn’t explain how I knew. I just did. My husband said, “Call your brother’s cell phone.” I did and my brother confirmed to me that she’d just passed. I cried and cried, wishing I had been at her side with my brothers and sisters. It was so difficult for me. God never gives us more than we can handle. I’m so glad we have the blessed hope that this life is not the end but just the BEGINNING! Hugs to you!

  12. Thank you for sharing how this story was written and your personal connection. That always makes a story more interesting.

    1. Susan, thanks for stopping by. I hope my story will minister to others.

  13. My dad had Parkinson’s disease and my mom had macular degeneration. We moved to our current location to help take care of them. They are both gone now, but I’m glad I had that time with them.
    I love all the books I’ve read of yours.
    Linda

    1. Linda, both my parents are gone and I can’t wait to be reunited with them. I hope your heart has healed. 🙂 Thank you for reading and enjoying my books. 🙂

  14. My husband had bone cancer in his jaw and lost 4molars worth of his upper jaw and half of his palate. It was a terrible surgery. He was unable to eat much and what he could eat had to be soft and easy to swallow. I didn’t feel right eating things like Doritos when he couldn’t have. (Bonus for me was losing weight.) He was very persistent and pushed hard to recover. He recovered much faster and much better than they expected. He is doing well.
    Man colds are annoying, but something serious like cancer makes it easy to give your full attention to taking care of those you love. I am so thankful things turned out as well as they did.

    1. Hi Patricia-what a painful cancer that must’ve been. I’m glad he’s recovered. Yes, it makes all other small aches and pains insignificant. It’s hard to see my husband suffer and can’t to a thing to change it, so I feel like I should never complain. Glad you popped in. Blessings on your Sunday evening.

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