This episode is sponsored by:
In this brutally honest conversation, Lynn Abaté-Johnson gets candid about her journey as a caregiver and talks about how she was able to finally care for herself the way she cared for her mom in her final years. We also talked about her recently released book Out of Love where she chronicles her journey and provides resources and systems for caregivers.
In this episode:
- Being a caregiver while juggling her career
- Keeping it a secret
- Turning her mom’s cancer diagnosis into a “business”
- Why she put the book on pause
- Removing the hustle mindset
- Being a caregiver while juggling being a wife
- Changing to a healthier lifestyle
- When her mom realized she wasn’t going to beat cancer
- Feeding stress with food
- Incremental changes
- How to squeeze gifts out of hard situations
- How the book morphed into being about her
“If I didn’t take that [her caregiving journey] and learn from it and transform my own life in very personal ways, there would be no point in telling the story.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“I went into production mode, and I did one of the things I do best, which is, I created–I jokingly said at times–we turned my mom’s cancer diagnosis into a business, and everything was documented. That really helped us with the emotional support we needed.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“I was doing the best job I could for her, at the same time freaking out myself that my mom was gonna die. That was the whole first year. Pretty much I could say I freaked out about me. It was a very selfish perspective. Like, ‘Well, okay, you have cancer, but what am I gonna do without you?’ I didn’t say that to her because I didn’t want her to feel bad. But I had this panic about losing my mom all of a sudden.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“I still believe that about every family member. We’re all doing the best we can. There’s a Ram Dass quote that I love that says ‘We’re all just walking each other home.’” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“I used to say to my mom, ‘Mom, your cancer’s gonna kill me. Forget about you. It’s gonna kill me.’” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“It was a very different world in 2011 when we got the diagnosis to the point where I couldn’t really be myself; I just had to figure out how to compartmentalize and then just do my job and still be a rockstar at work.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“I would go home, and I would fall apart. That’s when I would cry. That’s when I would curl up into the fetal position and be like my little girl self with my husband.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“You know, all of those things that sounded like criticism from my mom before, you never stop hearing that.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“I used to joke that, damn, I keep hearing mom’s voice in my head telling me what to do. ‘Can you please stop?’ And it hasn’t changed since she died. I still hear her voice in my head, but now it’s more of a comfort.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“We didn’t really admit that we were control freaks until we got that diagnosis. And I’m perfectly willing to say I’m a recovering control freak.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“What am I really hungry for at this moment? So that’s a question I ask myself. Is it food? Is it really food, or is it something else? If it’s something else, then I have tools now that I’ve learned through all of my coaching and everything that I really can pull myself back into what’s really happening now.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“Truthfully, when I was in the trenches and in the muck of being a caregiver for my mom, I did a terrible job of taking care of myself.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“With all of the chaos swirling around, I have to believe that there is hope, and I have to believe that we are going to do a better job of taking care of ourselves and taking care of each other as we learn about our mistakes and, we just really try to do a better job, and doing a better job can be incremental.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“I am really committed to honoring everybody where they are in this moment.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“I didn’t die. I didn’t die when my mom died. I thought I would; I could not imagine being on this earth without her. And yet she’s still very much with me. Every time I see the hummingbirds, I say, ‘Hi, Mom.’ And it brings me a smile.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
“It’s not my weight to carry. I can only carry my own weight, and I don’t want it to turn into me blowing up physically again or having so much inflammation on my body that I’m so miserable and I can’t function.” ~Lynn Abaté-Johnson
After being a primary caregiver for her mother for over six years, author Lynn Abate-Johnson understands the typhoon of emotions and responsibilities that come with caring for a loved one. However, she discovered how to blossom through (and after) caregiving rather than let it drown her.
By using her natural organizational skills and her solid work ethic, she developed systems and processes to help navigate the difficult journey of caregiving, which allowed her to go from “What am I going to do without my mom?” to “I know I can thrive after she’s gone–just as she would want.”
Like most caregivers, Lynn juggled caregiving duties with a full-time career. In her daily life, she’s a business consultant and global community builder.
She’s been building businesses from the ground up from a young age, with her first business being a network of family roller skating rinks in the Detroit, Michigan metro area. She is currently growing the global community as “the voice” of the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI), one of the world’s most respected leadership development and professional coach training organizations.
As part of her devotion to developing global communities that make a difference by connecting human beings, she speaks with cohorts of caregivers to help them discover they’re not alone, everything’s going to be ok, and there are tools they can use to ease the burdens they might feel as caregivers. Her book Out of Love: A Daughter’s Journey With Her Mom To The End provides care for caregivers by giving them the emotional and practical support they need.
About the Book:
Lynn’s words offer a uniquely personal glimpse into her journey as a daughter of a strong mother, along with her own transformation in the aftermath of being a caregiver.
Lynn’s approach removes the stigma of grief, Her expressive and often vulnerable ways of sharing help to normalize what many families may take for granted or miss in their often overwhelming and new experience as caregivers. There will be discomfort, shame, guilt, and layers of conditioning to discover in this book, with the goal of bringing light to the dark and peace to the soul.
These words are also interactive, meaning you will find practical, logistical tools and resources on the accompanying website: LynnAbateJohnsonBook.com.
Guest’s Contact Info: