Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Sweet By and By



by Todd Johnson

Published by HarperCollins Publishers, New York

Rhonda sat in her car in the parking lot of the Ridgecrest Nursing home. She was talking herself into going in and getting started on her part time job as hairdresser to the patients. She thought you could wash their hair, listen to their absent chatter, and walk away unaffected by their lives. She didn’t want to get involved in their lives or have them pry into hers. She couldn’t have been more wrong. Todd Johnson does a wonderful job of entwining the lives of five very different women in various staging of living and dying. Each woman is unique in their background, experiences, and place in their life and each plays an intricate part in the story. Poignant and sensitive, he weaves a tale of love and friendship as well as heartache and indignity.

Humor is the antidote to soften the realities we face in old age. Only Lorraine, the patient and loving LPN seemed remotely aware of the affect she had on the others around her. This is an enlightening journey through the eyes of those who endure life in a nursing home and the people closest to them. Although the time span is over many years and lacking in any definable plot, you will get to experience the changes and growth of these women, and perhaps in yourself. Who do you connect with in this story?

This book is for everyone that will travel this path, either for ourselves or someone we love. Who among us gets to avoid this road?  To quote April from the book “…..But as Mama always says, ‘I don’t care who you are, Sick and Old are comin to see you whether you invite em or not.”

Joanne Tailele has been a full time resident of Marco Island for two years. Born in Youngstown, her last “home” for 12 years was Columbus, Ohio. Between Joanne and her husband, she has six children and nine grandchildren. She works as receptionist for a local real estate company.

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