Please welcome my guest this week, author and poet Abbie Taylor and let’s find out a little more about her.
About Abbie Taylor
I live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband Bill, totally blind, who was partially paralyzed by two strokes soon after we were married. Before that, I was a registered music therapist and worked for fifteen years in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. I have a visual impairment, and during this time, I facilitated a support group for others like me. I also taught braille and served on the advisory board of a trust fund that allows persons with blindness or low vision to purchase adaptive equipment and services.
I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir and am working on another novel. My poems, short stories, and essays have been published in various journals and anthologies. I belong to several writers’ organizations and a women’s singing group and take water exercise classes at the YMCA
Welcome Abbie and can you tell us about your partner’s likes and dislikes?
I no longer have a partner, but when my late husband Bill was alive, he loved sports. The Colorado Rockies and the Denver Broncos were his favorite baseball and football teams respectively. Although he was totally blind for most of his life and partially paralyzed most of the time we were married, he enjoyed sitting outside, listening to a ball game or audio book. He liked to eat meat, potatoes, and sweets but hated most vegetables. He preferred country and bluegrass music and couldn’t stand classical or opera. My Ideal Partner is a memoir I wrote that tells our story.
What are the five things that you would always find in your handbag or briefcase?
In my fanny pack, I carry my billfold, a package of Kleenex, my medication list, in case, God forbid, I’m in an accident and paramedics are called, a pen, and a tube of Blistex. Because of my visual impairment, when I attend writers’ group meetings or writing workshops, I wear a back pack which contains my braille tablet, a portable magnifier, a folder with copies of pieces I’m submitting for critique plus braille paper in case my tablet quits working, a slate and stylus for writing in case I need them, and a bottle of water. Actually, that’s six things, but they’re all important. When I go to my water exercise class at the YMCA, my backpack contains water shoes, a towel, a plastic bag for my wet swimming suit, another bottle of water, and other essential items.
What is your favourite childhood song and why?
That would be “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night. When I was in the fourth grade, I fell in love with a boy who was a year younger. We went to each other’s houses after school and on weekends where we listened to music and dreamed about launching a rocket together. He played the piano, and we sang this song for a school talent show with him accompanying us. A year later, his family moved away, and we eventually lost touch. I recently heard he’d passed away.
Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
I enjoy traveling to Jupiter, Florida, to visit my brother and his family during their spring break. He and his wife both teach, and they have five teenagers between them, so most everyone’s out of school, and we can all have fun together as a family. They have two dogs, so we take plenty of walks. We also go to the beach and otherwise spend time outdoors. Last year when I was there, I participated in my first ever protest march, against gun violence. My trip there is a great escape from winter in Wyoming.
Have you ever played a musical instrument or sang in public?
Yes, I play the piano and guitar. When I was about twelve, I dreamed of being a singer like Olivia Newton-John or Debbie Boon. Now, when I’m not writing, I take my guitar to nursing homes and other facilities and sing for the residents, and they love it. I also sing in a women’s choral group. We perform at church services, ball games, and other venues.
Sally Here: As Abbie likes the music of Pat Boone’s daughter Debbie, here is her 1977 hit You Light Up My Life. Amazon
About My Ideal Partner
In September of 2005, Abbie Johnson married Bill Taylor. She was in her mid—forties, and he was nineteen years older. Three months later, Bill suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side and confined him to a wheelchair. Abbie Johnson Taylor, once a registered music therapist, uses prose and poetry to tell the story of how she met and married her husband, then cared for him for six years despite her visual impairment. At first, there was a glimmer of hope that Bill would walk again, but when therapists gave up on him seven months after his second stroke, Taylor resigned herself to being a permanent family caregiver.
She discusses learning to dress him and transfer him from one place to another, sitting up with him at night when he couldn’t urinate or move his bowels, and dealing with doctors and bureaucrats to obtain necessary equipment and services. There were happy times, like when she played the piano or guitar and sang his favorite songs, or when they went out to eat or to a concert. She also explains how she purchased a wheelchair accessible van and found people to drive it, so they wouldn’t always depend on the local para-transit service’s limited hours. In the end, she describes the painful decision she and Bill made to move him to a nursing home when he became too weak for her to care for him in September of 2012. He seemed to give up on life and passed away a month later.
One of the reviews for the book
A great telling of the struggles of a young woman doing her best to cope with husband’s chronic illness which eventually took his life. A must read for anyone dealing with the issues related to caregiving and staying positive and strong throughout the process and recovery afterwards.
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/My-Ideal-Partner-Married-Debilitating-ebook/dp/B01ISO66MA
Also by Abbie Taylor (please click the image to buy)
Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Abbie would love to hear from you… thanks Sally.