Endorsements and Feedback
Reviews From Readers
“Kathryn Cosper has journeyed into the difficult country of illness and grief and brought back a great deal of wisdom and grace. She has very good counsel for those who will either undertake that journey themselves or accompany one whom they love.”
Dr. Thomas Currie
Retired Dean, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte, NC
Goodreads – Five Stars
Everyone should read this book — it not only provides guidance as to what to do/not do, and say/not say, when you are - or someone you know is - enduring hard times, but it is also humorous, touching, beautifully written, insightful, helpful, moving (and did I say humorous?). Wonderful book.
A masterfully written memoir. Without sentimentalism or self-pity, Kandy introduces us to both the life of her cherished husband and the life of the strong marriage they built, so that we ache with her as all of that robust life changes in hard and unexpected ways. She engages the reader with honest emotions, unexpected bursts of humor, plain truth and the wisdom of hard- won experience. Her story—not just a timetable of what happened and when—becomes relatable to the reader through her sharing of everyday experiences as well as lessons learned. She does not hesitate to openly share her Christian beliefs or personal life circumstances…experiences that could, in the hands of a lesser writer, create a sense of aversion or discomfort in the reader, but here, offer us insight into a remarkable family.
It is a universal story of love switching gears, of learning new ways of caring, of coming to terms with what is left behind when the known changes unrecognizably.
We will likely all be caregivers someday, to someone. Kandy’s individual journey offers many guideposts for that experience.
Kandy Cosper's story of her husband's illness and death is just beautifully written. While I don't share her religious faith, I greatly appreciate her perceptive observations and suggestions to both caregivers and those who wish to support them I expect to turn to it again and again in the future.
Amazon – Five Stars
A wonderfully written, informative, and at the same time entertaining read. I couldn’t put it down.
The author shares her journey through the sudden stroke of her spouse and the back and forth of rehabilitation and hospitalization which ensued prior to his death. Honest thoughts of the caregiver spouse are shared about navigating levels of care and difficult decisions. Following his death, the author's experience of grief is shared, and the impact that words we tend to say has on one such as herself. This book is recommended for anyone on a care minister team or anyone who could become a caregiver.
When I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. I was struck by the honesty and the courage it took to write about the challenges the author faced in caring for her husband of forty years after his stroke. Cosper held nothing back in describing the frustration of organizing and navigating the bureaucracy of the medical system.
What was clear from the beginning was the love she had for her husband and his well-being. Yes, it was extremely difficult. However, throughout their journey, both of them kept a sense of humor even during the darkest hours of emergency room visits and long hospital stays. Their story is a poignant example of an extraordinary marriage, a true love story. They promised to be ever faithful in sickness and in health and to love for better or for worse (they just never expected it to get worse) for as long as they both shall live.
The book is also a testament to their faith and commitment to family as well as a tremendous example of hope and resilience. Cosper includes sections of practical suggestions for “negotiating” with insurance providers and assisted living situations. She states that she doesn’t want people to be sad or to think of their journey as a tragedy. Only that they were incredibly blessed. For anyone who is dealing with a family illness, this book is not only a profile in courage of a devoted wife and family, but a valuable resource.
Goodreads and Amazon – Five Stars
Kathryn Cosper bestows on her readers three immeasurable gifts: solace, permission and assurance.
I have three copies of this book on hand. One is for me to re-read when I or someone beloved by me faces a crisis and I need a refresher and the other two books I want to keep at the ready prepared to share.
Almost all of us sometime during our lifetime will be either caregivers or care receivers. In her book, The Defense Rests by Kathryn Cosper has bestowed three immeasurable gifts. Her first gift granted the reader is solace for their interminable problem- solving, decision making and heart wrenching grief that confronts someone responsible for the care of another person losing their independence and health (but in her delightful husband’s case, not his wit and empathy). Her second gift bestowed on the reader is permission to feel as they feel without guilt. Her third gift to me is a treasure. It is a roadmap of assurance. As a caregiver the needs of your loved one may not replicate the order of Kathryn’s experience, but in telling her story she has reached out to her readers and assured them that no matter where in life’s journey they find themselves they can find the resources they need in their own way even when it seems impossible.
This book is filled with practical examples of how to offer and accept help. We know what it is to want to be helpful or to express the perfect sentiment when a friend or loved one is in crisis. Kathryn gave an example of a neighborhood couple with a down to earth sense of practicality. Dressed in their jeans they appeared at her front door on the day her husband died. They brought with them a toilet bowl brush and willing hands and helpful hearts, all that was necessary to make her house company-ready!
Life’s crises are not limited to those linked to declining health and dying which are certainly two of life’s most heartbreaking crises. I marveled at Kathryn’s endurance and resourcefulness in the most unrelentingly stressful of circumstances. I would encourage every reader to extract from this book timeless lessons of how to be a sustaining, loving, caring and supportive friend, the kind of friend all of us hope to be and the kind we trust will be present when we ourselves face a life crisis.
From a Minister and Chaplain
Kandy’s book is the best I have read on caregiving. It is full of wisdom and practical knowledge pertaining to the many aspects of caregiving. For me personally, it is my bible on caregiving. I keep it close by and refer to it often.
Notes from Readers to the Author
I would like to thank you for your excellent advice for all of us eventually facing the loss of a spouse; thank you for your honesty; thank you for sharing the entire range of your feelings; thank you for sharing your family; thank you for sharing the joys and heartbreaks as you cared for Harvey; and thank you for writing this book. You are a wonderful writer and I admire your drive and ambition to write such a delicate and difficult story.
I read your book in two days this week and it is one of the best I have ever read. I cried numerous times and was left wishing I had known your Harvey. What a wonderful husband and father he must have been. I am very impressed with you - being a caregiver is as hard as being the patient, I think. I worked at our church for 20 years and was in charge of the support groups for a while so I am familiar with lots of books about grief and loss. But yours was the perfect book for so many people who are going thru an illness now. I have told my husband that he needs to read it also so if something happens to me he will know what to do! Thank you for sharing so much of your life, so many personal times with us. I cannot tell you how much it meant to me.
I just finished your book and wanted to write and tell you about my experience reading it. I was mesmerized by it and hated to put it down each night to go to bed. I would like to thank you for your excellent advice for all of us eventually facing the loss of a spouse; thank you for your honesty; thank you for sharing the entire range of your feelings; thank you for sharing your family; thank you for sharing the joys and heartbreaks as you cared for Harvey; and thank you for writing this book. You are a wonderful writer and I admire your drive and ambition to write such a delicate and difficult story.
What an extraordinary work! I don’t know if you intended it to be inspiring, but it definitely is and yet it is down to earth and practical at the same time. It is such a story of love, devotion, family, and faith- in no particular order.
The citations you have included at the beginning of each section are so fitting for what is to follow in your narrative. The interspersing of emails, Facebook posts, and cards that others had written are woven so nicely into what you are portraying as the steps in your most difficult journey.
The love that you and Harvey shared was and is so strong. The fact that you both understood how blessed you were is such proof of that love, and it comes across so clearly in your writing. I was brought to tears at several places in the book. Your authenticity contributed to my heartfelt reactions to you and your family who I have never met.
You and Ann are wonderful writers and tell your stories beautifully. I laughed and cried throughout the entire reading. It reminded me how difficult it is to lose someone you love. Being a strong caregiver takes courage and strength all that we receive from our Lord. Thank you for writing it. Your suggestions were right on. I hope you can find ways to get your book in the hands of people who face similar challenges.
I don’t think it was an accident that I opened the book - wanting to check out the “vibe” and peruse a page or two - precisely at the beginning of Chapter 15, “Redefining Hope.” From that instant, I was unable to stop reading until the last page. I cried and my heart really really hurt, but I think it also grew several sizes (like the grinch) as I read your eloquent words. What a testament to the human spirit, both yours and his. I still feel really heart-heavy and I probably will for awhile, and that’s okay because it speaks to just how beautiful your story is. Beautiful AND beautifully written. I am amazed at you, but not surprised. I look forward to starting again, at the beginning this time. Thanks so much for writing this book. It’s going to help a lot of folks to grow a few heart sizes, I think.
To say that I was moved by your writing is an understatement. Thank you for finding the courage to dig deep and tell your story. It is a profound journey, filled with love and laughter, pain, grief and every other emotion out there. I couldn’t put it down. You truly have an amazing talent.
But having observed your deep faith over the years made it a more poignant story to tell. I see it also as the celebration of an extraordinary marriage as well as a fine example of how a family pulls together to navigate the medical challenges and bureaucracy and just the day-to-day hassles of surviving one more day, hour by hour. It truly carries a message of hope and resilience.
I am marveling that you were able to write this, and to write as you did during the times you describe. When I am in the midst of upheaval, my writing voice becomes a little ineffective squeak! Just wanted to reach out to you with thanks and admiration for your story...while I'm not exactly following the same path, the one I'm on with my husband now is similar, and your sharing of your journey is incredibly meaningful to me.
I read your book today. It is so real, so engaging. It is indeed educational—and it fills a gap in society that I never realized was there until I started reading your insights and realized you wanted to educate as you told your story. You are right, I have dealt with hundreds of challenging cases, but truly few rivaled yours and Harvey’s stunning challenges.
From the Former Owner of a Caregiving Agency that Served the Family
Your book is so real, so engaging. It is indeed educational—and it fills a gap in society that I never realized was there until I started reading your insights and realized you wanted to educate as you told your story. I have dealt with hundreds of challenging cases, but truly few rivaled yours and Harvey’s stunning challenges. Your story filled in some memory gaps and I truly don’t think I realized the trauma his illness caused you and your amazing children. And add off the chart medical expenses. I just did not know the level of suffering both you Harvey endured, and I did not know how young he was. I thought he married a young wife!
What I most remember about Harvey was his heart of genuine kindness and goodness. His caregivers were full of testimonies. Who we are in weakness is a test of who we really are. Harvey was a gem. What I most remember about you was your candor and vulnerability. You had a rare wisdom that taught me by example about caregiving from a heart of love. Lastly, you fulfilled your many tasks with a grace that I knew sprang from your relationship with God. Again, I can’t wait to read and share your book. Congrats on passing on your life lessons to a whole world of people who need it. I ask God to bless you and bless your book to help many.
From a Recent Widower
Thanks, Kandy, for writing a difficult book. I grieved with you as Harvey’s fate unfolded: hope and respite, then disappointment; rising to hope again. I consider Ann as a co-author as her emails were knowledgeable, with loving comment. You mentioned an “angel” from Ann’s high school class visiting and praying for you and Harvey. That resonated with me, since I have decided that each of us may be called by God at some time to be an angel to other(s). ….It does not mean we are transformed into perfect creatures, just that God puts us in the right place at a needed time.
“The only person who knows how you feel is you, and sometimes you don’t know yourself.” Still true to me. Thank you for sharing your book.
From a Recent Widow
I started your book yesterday and just finished it. Laughed, cried, identified with so much. Beautifully written and a comfort to realize my feelings are normal and okay. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m giving it to my daughter and hope it will be one of our book club selections.