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Coffee with Mom Author Q&A

Andy Whisenant | May 22nd

What prompted you to write this book?

We moved my mom to live in Nashville in 2014. On my way to work at the church each morning, I would stop and have coffee with her at Morning Pointe. Sometimes, these visits were funny. Other times they were painful beyond belief. I started a twitter series called “Coffee with Mom” just to have a place to deal with the funny but painful, daily process of dealing with Mom and her illness. The tweets found a life of their own and the book followed from there.

How do you hope those walking through similar experiences with a parent or loved one use this book?

What about those who aren’t facing those challenges currently?

The first thing I would want anyone who is dealing with this challenge to know is you’re not alone. Coping with the illness can make you think you’re alone in the world. Every situation is so unique, which tempts us to think no one else understands. What I found out is there are a lot of people who are dealing with this – quietly, in their own way. But they know what you’re going through. Sometimes, the only thing you want to know is that you’re not alone in the world. I hope by telling my mom’s story, you’ll understand there are lot of people who are walking the same road.

And if you’re not on that road now, hang on. Your time is coming. Maybe your parents or siblings, maybe your spouse or even your child – or you … but you’ll deal with this somehow.

What did caring for your mother while she had Alzheimer’s teach you? What were those daily coffee times with her like?

Here’s the greatest lesson I learned. When I was little, I counted on Mom to take care of me. There was no meeting. No clarification of expectations. I just knew that whatever decision she made would be in my best interest. Now, she couldn’t make her own decisions, and she was now counting on me to do what was best for her. This is what love does. Love always seeks the best of the beloved. Even when it’s hard – especially when it’s hard. Love makes the hard choices.

Coffee with her was hilarious, humiliating, warm, freezing cold, angry, touching, loving and brutal. I would give anything to have another cup of coffee with her this morning.

How do you hope people are encouraged by reading “Coffee with Mom”?

I would hope from reading the book each person would understand the great privilege it is to care for your parents. I was very honored to be able to care for my mom. I would hope the book would spark some conversations in the family to start talking about the hard choices that life may require of each of us. I would want people to understand God is good, and God is faithful— even in the toughest of times.