1. How did your blog start? Had any of you had previous experience with a blog? Is there one person who is the IT department, so to speak, of your blog?
My Dad passed away on August 8, 2001. It was because of the stressful months leading up to his death, and those after, that led me to writing down my thoughts. I define myself as a Writer. I can't remember a time when the written word, either as literature I read, or writing I did as some form of expression, wasn't a big part of my life. [The very subject I'm writing about - my mother - was a huge influence on my awakening, exposing me to stories back as far as I can remember. My father made up bedtime stories and took me out of myself. He played roleplaying games with me where he was Hawkeye and I was Chingascook in the woods by our home...] It was very natural to extend what I already do with other parts of my life and express my feelings and thoughts about this part of my life. That sounds strange to me, because I think of it as sharing more about my MOTHER'S life, not mine, but of course, it's all intertwined.
Yes, I have other blogs, several others (The Journey and Writer's Block are examples...)
I am the IT department; I do IT as a living and set up all the writers as part of my blog team, etc.
2. Did you worry about sharing personal information in such a public format? The honesty of your blog is just wonderful, but did you worry about any repercussions from your families?
No. I'm an open book to anyone. I see nothing to be ashamed of, of being human. Sharing is healthy for me, for my family, and for others that read it. No, I have not worried about repercussions from family. But then, our family is very open and honest and I can't imagine anyone being bothered (there are other family members that read it but don't write for it...)
3. How has writing the blog affected you? And, affected your relationships with your mothers?
Writing for the blog helps me to see events in a broader perspective. It allows me to vent when there are emotional periods, and then come back to them and see them in a more realistic light. Sometimes that does NOT happen. Sometimes things are just tough, and there is no getting around that. In the end, I think I can speak here not only for myself but for my sisters and our cousin, we all realize things are just as they are and we get on with life. I personally think that's the Irish in us. We're all very strong, independent, intelligent, IRISH women.
4. Have you been surprised by any events or incidents that have occurred because of your blog? Any unexpected surprises--good or bad?
I can't say I've been surprised by any of it. When I started it, I started it for myself because I needed to. Then I started thinking, my sisters may benefit from this also, and the dynamics of multiple voices vs. a single voice got me excited. I invited them first, then later my cousin after my Mom's sister began having similar problems. It's been as good as I hoped - i.e., I hoped it would provide a place to unburden, a place to enlighten, a place to share with each other and with perfect strangers, and to be positive in our lives generally. It has been all that. My sisters and I, and especially our cousin, are talking more than ever. We now have weekly 'family chats' on my Family website I created .
5. Have you committed to a writing schedule in your blog? Do you write as often as you need? Or at certain times during a day or week?
No writing schedule. We all write when the spirit moves us.
6. What suggestions can you offer to other family caregivers considering creating their own blog? Any pointers you can share so they get off to a good start?
Have a central point of contact/IT person like we did. It makes administering the blog much easier!
Use one of the blogging services at least at the beginning. They offer editing utilities and page templates that make setting up and using your blog MUCH easier than starting your own from scratch. Of course, if you have a VERY handy IT person around, go for it!
Anyone contemplating doing a caregiving blog should probably think about what they want out of it before they jump into the creative side of it - e.g., I wanted a blog that was both memoir and journal; I designed my page to show who my mother WAS, and who she IS, as well as showing how I felt about her. I included the trigger that caused the page, my father's death, and how it had devastated my mother. You can keep it simple, or you can be more expressive as we were. It's all up to you...
And, can you include a brief bio of yourself (age, marital status, children, careers)?
Marital Status: Divorced, currently in a Long-Term relationship
Children: Two - Daughter Eva 24 and Son Daniel 21. To find out more about Eva, see her blog - she is literally leaving tonight with my 3 grandsons for Iraq...
Career: I am Systems Administrator for the Office of Hearings & Appeals, Social Security Administration in Fargo, ND
For more about me, see my personal website
Friday, October 03, 2003
I recently contacted Denise from Caregivers.com requesting that this blog be added to her links section. Denise responded by asking my sisters and I to participate in an interview of sorts via email about our blog. I gladly accepted and below are my set of answers...