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Many People Helped Me Care for My Mother

“Many People Helped Me Care for My Mother” by Joan Y. Edwards

Mother and I traveled to many places together.

It takes many people to support you in caring for someone. Perhaps it’s an infant, a small child, a teenager, a young adult, a middle aged person, or an elder that you are caring for right now. You can do it. You can do it. I know you can do it. God will help. He will send people to help you.

Many people helped me take care of my mother. Perhaps in the hundreds altogether. I took care of her for 14 years total. God, St. Joseph, family, neighbors, friends, doctors, nurses, paramedics, hospital personnel, priests, ministers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, Certified Nursing Assistants, Social Services Adult Care, Caring Hands Agency, members of my critique group, and strangers. Thank you to all of the people who helped me. 

Carl and Joan Edwards

My husband, Carl was very supportive. He helped when Mother did not respond to me. She believed that the man was the most important thing in the world. One time when Mother passed out after a bowel movement, she wouldn’t answer me. I called several times, “Momma, Momma. Are you okay?”
No answer. So I said to myself, if I was a man, she’d answer

I hollered for Carl. “Carl, would you please come here and help me. Mother’s not answering me. I know she’ll answer you. You’re a man. Men can do no wrong.”

Carl said, “Sure.” He went to the bathroom and said, “Grandmaw, Grandmaw, can you hear me?”

Mother fluttered her eyes at him and said, “Yes.”

The doctor said, “Sometimes bowel movements can lower the blood pressure. Call 911 if she doesn’t respond or stops breathing.”

Back Row: Carl, Mollie, Mark, Lorrie, Kirstyn Middle Row: Joan, Wyatt, Kylie, Front Row: Mother, Luke, Kirk

My daughters, Lorrie and Mollie, and their families were priceless. They helped me by calling and visiting often. They were only minutes away when I needed them. They invited Mother, Carl, and me to join them for a week at the beach every summer. We had a great time being together.

My sisters, Judith and Janet.

My sisters, Judith and Janet came and relieved me for a long weekend or a whole week when their schedules allowed, usually once a year. Janet’s employers let her come to help me during Mother’s last three weeks with us. It was comforting to have her with me. My brother, Butch, called to check on us often.

Her niece, Susie and her husband, John Magoteaux came to visit Mother in 2006.

My cousin, Susie and her husband, John Magoteaux came to visit Mother in 2006.

Thurman Bruffey and my Mother in January 2009.

My cousin, Thurman Bruffey, called to check on us every week and visited once a year. Other family members and friends visited and called to check on us, too. I am very grateful for those phone calls and visits. They helped me know I wasn’t alone.

Barbara Walker helped me care for Mother from 2002-2009. We are still friends today!

After Mother’s hip broke in 2000, it was tricky figuring out what kind of help I needed for her so I could stay away over night. After trying for two years, I found CNAs who were willing to do private duty and stay overnight who bonded well with Mother and with me. They charged a reasonable rate. I left them directions, sort of like a lesson plan of care for Mother so they would know what she could and couldn’t do. They stayed with Mother one weekend every 6 months so that Carl and I could take off and have time together without responsibility. Barbara Walker was the first. Edwina Hayes was the second. They split the day up – 12 hours each. Edwina died 6 months before Mother. They were priceless. Barbara and I are still friends. Once every month or two, we eat breakfast at I-Hop and reminisce about the old times and help each other cope with the new times. 

Many times strangers came to my aid. When Mother’s hip broke and she fell in Dover, Delaware in 2000. They put a pin in her hip. She scooted along with her wheeled walker really fast at the hospital. However, at the rest stop in Virginia on the way home, she was very slow, perhaps slower than Tim Conway playing Mr. Tudball or the Oldest Man on the Carol Burnett TV show during the 1970s. I got Mother out of the car but it took her 10 minutes for her to walk from the side of the car to the sidewalk. The bathroom was at least 300 feet away. I called, “Sir, Sir, would you help me?” And a man helped me get Mother back in the car. She couldn’t even move herself across the seat! We put her on a blanket and he pulled her across the seat. We finally got all of her in, rested her head on a pillow, and closed the door.

Another time I used the “Sir, Sir” technique was when Mother wilted on me right before we were going to leave to go to her favorite Fireside restaurant in Matthews, NC. I couldn’t get her up. I went outside and saw a Duke Power meter reader crossing my front yard. I said, “Sir, Sir, would you please help me?” He asked me what I needed and helped me get her up into a chair. After I asked her name and when she was born, she smiled and said, “Are we going to the Fireside now?” We did.

I am very thankful that these people were willing to help me. They were loving and caring. Thank you for the times in your life that you take care of others. You may be caring for infants, young children, teenagers, young adults, middle aged people, or the elderly.

Calls and visits from family and friends are appreciated. Your help in crisis to family, friends, and strangers is essential in our world. Thank you. You are God’s answer to many prayers. 

I hope that you enjoyed reading these stories from taking care of Mother. I know you have stories to share of taking care of others, too. I hope you’ll share them with me in the comment area or by email to joanyedwards1@gmail.com/. I wrote Joan’s Elder Care Guide to help people who are caring for the elderly. This book will also help you in caring for people of all ages because it helps you focus on what is needed for both you and the person in your care.

One of the 16 Reviews on Amazon for Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive by Joan Y. Edwards.

 ***** Must Have Book! Review by Shawn Simon

Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive, by Joan Y Edwards, is a comprehensive handbook for those who are taking care of or may need to take care of an elderly person. So often when one becomes a caregiver to a parent or other relative, they are not at all prepared for the job at hand. Being unprepared can cause stress to the caregiver and to the person being cared for.

With Joan’s handbook, this stress, frustration, and exhaustion can be relieved. There is advice for how to handle emotions that are sure to arise and for making sure to provide social outlets for your elder, and so much more. From first deciding the best location for your loved one to the end of life discussions, this book has it all. The book even provides checklists to use and a whole host of resources!

Of essential importance, is making sure your own needs are met. We often forget to care for ourselves when we are caring for a loved one. However we are no good to them, if we are not good to ourselves. What is sometimes difficult to think about are the financial issues to consider after your loved one has passed. Joan’s book discusses how to best handle wills, trusts, estates, and more. There is even a section on grieving our loved one.

I especially love the anecdotal stories she shares about her time caring for her feisty, witty elderly mother. Her experiences are what prompted her to write this book. She realized how much she needed to consider before deciding to provide full-time care for her mother. There did not seem to be a comprehensive guide to help her, so she decided to write her own. This is a book everyone should have if they may ever need to care for an elderly person. Joan Y Edwards has thought of everything!

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Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 201
9 Joan Y. Edwards



Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Contract with a Publisher

Ask Questions Before Signing Image Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards
Ask Questions Before Signing Image Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

“Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Contract with a Publisher” by Joan Y. Edwards

Questions to ask and information to know before you sign on the dotted line with a publisher. There are many things that came to my mind when I decided to write this article. I know that my list is not the end-all list. I know there are other factors for you to consider. However, if you find the answers to the questions posed here, I believe you will be on the path to a good publishing experience.

8 Things to Investigate Before You Submit to a Publisher

Consider this background check on your potential publisher.

  1. Check out their website. Look at the book covers. Are they eye-catching? Do they have at least ten books in your genre?

  2. Check Whispers and Warnings on Writers Weekly: http://writersweekly.com/category/whispers-and-warnings

  3. Look for testimonies or complaints for the company on line. Search company name + scam (fraud, rip-off, lawsuits,”Better Business Bureau”)

  4. Do they charge fees for editing, illustrating, ISBN numbers or for any other reason? Traditional publishers will not charge you fees for anything. Vanity publishers or publishers to help you self-publish may charge fees. Usually, you don’t want to choose a publisher who charges fees. This is your choice. Believe in you.

  5. Buy one of their books or read one from the library. Check it for professional formatting and editing.

  6. Follow them on their company Facebook or LinkedIn pages. Sign up for their newsletters.

  7. Read their submission guidelines thoroughly and follow them with precision. Read their guidelines aloud. Check to make sure all requested items are in your submission package. If you don’t follow the guidelines, you’re sabotaging your success. Many publishers want you to submit your manuscript electronically; others prefer paper copies sent via snail mail. 

17 Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Publisher Before You Sign a Contract

Here are 17 questions I think are worth asking before you sign your publishing contract.

  1. Do you have a return policy for bookstores? If the publisher doesn’t have a book return contract with the distributors, it may be difficult or impossible to get your books on the shelves of bookstores. About this book return policy. On behalf of the publishers who do not offer book returns any more: As I understand it, the contract says booksellers can return books from now to infinity and beyond. That’s not quite fair. It seems to me that having a 60 day return policy would be good, but not a lifetime return policy. When a big named national bookstore chain went into bankruptcy a few years ago, they nearly washed out a lot of small publishers because they returned so many books. The books weren’t necessarily returned in good condition which meant that they couldn’t be sold to anyone. The publishers had to return the money the booksellers paid for the books which was thousands of dollars. And all of it came out of the small publisher’s bank account at the same time from different bookstores. This was bad news for everyone – the bookseller and the publisher. Many of these small traditional book publishers had to do away with the return book policy for books for this reason. Some required loans to keep afloat.

  2. Will your publisher send galley proofs of your book for review by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, or other reviewers before the book’s release? Who will review your book for them? How will you obtain reviews. Will your publisher assist you in obtaining more than 25 reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, GoodReads, or other places where people buy books online. In 2013, Jeremy Greenfield stated that in 2011 more books were sold online than in physical bookstores according to Bowker Market Research. It’s possible that you don’t need your books in every brick and mortar bookstore. Perhaps you’ll only need to get them in your local bookstores.

  3. Will you be able to get your books into local bookstores on consignment? What cost will you have to pay for your books personally? What percentage discount will you receive? Bookstores demand a 40% discount for your books. If you only get a 30% discount when you buy the books from the publisher, you’ll be up a creek without a paddle in making enough profit when you bookstores take your books on consignment at 40% off. Some book stores charge a fee of $25.00 to $30.00 to carry your books in their stores on consignment.

  4. Who is going to buy your books? Who does your publisher see as the market for your book? People can order books from a bookstore with the ISBN number and probably will not have to pay for shipping. If they have Amazon Prime they will get free shipping. If they have the Barnes and Noble membership, they will get free shipping.

  5. Does your publisher have ways to get your books in libraries? How? How many of their books are in your local library? Libraries seem purchasing more digital copies because of tight budgets. Contact your local library and see if they’ll order a digital copy of your book.

  6. Who is your book distributor? Ingram and Baker and Taylor are possible ones. The printer and the book distributors both take a hunk out of the money your publisher receives when a book sells. The publisher has pay them a percentage of it.

  7. How will the publisher market your book? Online, in stores, and other ways? See if they can mention ten ways. What are ten ways you personally plan to market your book?

  8. Will the copyright be yours or yours and publishers? Writer’s Relief says to find an intellectual property lawyer who specializes in publishing to review your contract. 

  9. Is there an out clause for both you and the publisher in your contract? Writer’s Relief suggest that you ask an intellectual property lawyer who is skilled and experienced with reading over publishing contracts to give you his advice. Publishing companies go through changes. I signed with a company who stopped publishing children’s books a week or so after I signed my contract with them. If the publisher has been in business for a long time, chances are they’ll still be in business a few years down the road. If they’ve always published your genre, chances are they’ll still publish your genre. If they don’t, you should be able to opt out of your contract. Keep your eyes and ears open.

  10. Will your book be print on demand or bulk publishing (hundreds or thousands of copies at a time)? What size book?

  11. As the author, will you give me any free books? I received 2 free books. Kathleen Burkinshaw received 15 free books. Thanks for suggesting I add this question, Kathleen.

  12. Will they do an eBook, paperback, or hardback? Which copy will be first? Second? Third? What time frame? Some companies do the eBook first. Others do the hardback or paperback first. Some don’t do an eBook.

  13. If the publisher asks you if you’re willing to change your manuscript, ask them what kind of changes are they talking about? Are they only punctuation and grammar? Are they character and plot changes? Will you need to add chapters or take away chapters from a non-fiction book? Ask them to be specific so you can make a good decision.

  14. What is the maximum word count or number of pages for your final edit? Books cost more according to the number of pages. In an effort to keep the cost down, you and your publisher may limit the number of pages in your book.

  15. Will the editor be available by phone as well as by email? I suggest that you ask if you and your editor and the main editor of the imprint talk together to discuss the plans for editing your book before the editing process begins and then monthly to make sure all of you are on the same page.

  16. What is the scheduled release date? If the release date is many years away, are you willing to wait? Do you have enough patience and fortitude to carry you through a long process to publication. The waiting process for one year is stressful. Each segment of 6 months may add strain and stress to you personally. If the editing process takes longer than planned, this might put the publication date even farther down the path. How will you handle this emotionally?

  17. What percentage royalty will you receive on the amount of money the publisher receives for books sold? 8% for paperback? Would you get 50% for eBooks? Is your royalty higher than 8% for eBooks because there’s no shipping charges, printing charges, etc. What percentage for hardback copies?

Things you may not know

Authors pay for shipping books to them from publisher.
You may also have to pay the tax for your state of residence for the books that you order.

The state where you live expects you to turn in sales tax money to them for the books you sell.

I hope this blog helps you be more aware of things to look for and inspire you to ask more questions before you sign a contract with a publisher. I wrote these as an author; however, they would probably help an illustrator, too. I wrote them to help you to keep on going and not give up.


You inspire me. Thank you for reading my blog.
Please share questions or information you believe writers and illustrators should know before they sign the contract with a publisher.

Giveaway Ended September 9, 2016.

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Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards
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Joan’s Elder Care Guide A guide to help caregivers and elders find solutions.