In an interview with “The Candid Caregiver” for HeathCentral.com, Kathi Koll discusses her new book, Kick-Ass Kinda Girl and the important work of The Kathi Koll Foundation.
When people think about caregiving spouses, they often think of older adults. We only have to look at a young mother diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a young husband diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or in this case, a woman who’s healthy husband had a sudden, massive stroke, to know differently. Care partners come in all ages.
“The Candid Caregiver” was drawn to Kathi’s story because this was not an elderly couple but one in the prime of life. Additionally, Kathi recognized that while her position in life didn’t make her devastation any easier, she did understand that she had a financial advantage that many caregivers lack. This awareness inspired Kathi to start a foundation to help financially strapped caregivers.
The Candid Caregiver: In your book, you called the time before Don’s stroke “the front side of the fence.” Do you still see that before-and-after division as defined or has time muted the line a little?
Kathi Koll: Yes, my life is much more in one piece now, but it took a lot of work. Time helps to soften sadness. The pain is never completely gone but tucked away deep in a corner of my heart. I have wonderful memories, but am now making new ones. I never thought I could get to this point, but I have. I try not to let myself fall into the trap: “I wish my life was still …” That is easy to do, but then one loses the opportunity to find joy today.
TCC: You also mentioned in your book that one of the most hated attempts at comfort was when people said: “God doesn’t give you more than you can bear.” Comforting people can be a minefield. Can you think of other things that people said that struck a nerve with you?