On May 3, Katherine Arnup, a 22-year resident of Old Ottawa South, launched her new book on caring for parents at Patty’s Pub. Some fifty plus people listened to Katherine read excerpts from her book, shared stories with one another, and enjoyed treats and refreshments. “I don’t have time for this!” A Compassionate Guide to Caring for Your Parents and Yourself is based on Katherine’s experiences caring for her sister and her parents when they were dying and on her 13 plus years as a volunteer at the May Court Hospice.
Written over the course of more than a decade, “I don’t have time for this!” took its final form after Katherine retired from Carleton University in 2013 where she had been teaching and serving as departmental chair for more than two decades.
“I want people to know that they’re not alone,” Arnup said during the launch. “When you are faced with caring for someone you love, you feel as if you’re the only one. It’s a very difficult time, especially if you still have children you are caring for at home.”
Based on memoir, interviews with caregivers, research, and stories, “I don’t have time for this!” avoids a preachy tone common in other books on the topic. “We will all go through this in our lives,” Katherine reminded the audience. “Everyone here has either already lost their parents or is going to at some point in their lives. That’s just a hard fact of life. And of course, everyone of us will face our own death.”
Although the subject is a challenging one, Arnup includes moments of humour and joy throughout the book. “It’s so easy for us to get caught up in all the details of caregiving, and forget to notice the moments of joy,” she remarked. Those moments will remain with us and sustain us long after our parents are gone.
Katherine was interviewed by Robyn Bresnahan on CBC’s Ottawa morning show on May 4th. An excerpt from her book was chosen as an Editor’s Pick on Next Avenue, an NPR online site targeted at people over 50. The book is available from Chapters and Amazon online, and at Books on Beechwood, Singing Pebble, and Octopus Books, as well as the Public Library. If you want an autographed copy, look for Katherine at the local Starbucks or Bridgehead. Katherine plans to do a reading and book signing at Sunnyside Library in the Fall.
In addition to writing, spending time with her two grandchildren, and volunteering at the May Court Hospice, Katherine is a life coach, specializing in life transitions, including aging, caregiving, and end of life issues. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.