Hello Wottareaders! today I’m interviewing author Leith McGuire! we’ll get to know her a bit, but first let’s talk about her book: Finding My Sunshine: A Memoir.
This is an inspiring memoir, a story about self doubt and struggle. A heartbreaking story about the author’s life, and how to overcome your demons.
And now, time for the interview:
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?
As I was sharing my stories from my residents, I learned I was not truly as alone as I made myself believe. I learned coping skills in counseling, there I learned I did not have to carry the weight on my own, that there were people just like me. (Clinically depressed, learning disability) I wanted to quit counseling more than once, cause the personal work was intense and hard to process sometimes. But I knew I needed help; or I was not going to make it. I kept going, sometimes you surprise yourself and you do not know how strong you really are until you are being pulled down in an strong undertow, about to go under and no one is there to rescue you. You must do the work. Depression is like that feeling, your body wants to kill you off while your spirit whispers keep going. In the end, you only have yourself to save.
What was the inspiration for the story?
There was a lot of inspiration, first one, is I wanted to give the elderly a voice. I wanted them to know I heard them, someone cared. The world is very noisy, and they tend to be overlooked. I wanted them to know how much I appreciated their help, trust and kindness. While I was trying to figure my life out.
As well as I wanted to share my story of being looked at as an underdog. Like so many of the residents I took care of. I was born with a learning disability, clinically depressed and living an unbalanced life for a long time. I wanted to share how much a little bit of love can really help change someone’s life. Just that one extra minute you gave to someone can really help them feel they mattered. We are more alike, then different, regardless of age.
What do you think of the book’s title? How does it relate to the book’s contents?
Finding My Sunshine is about me being in the dark for some time; it was only after I learned to accept myself was, I able to find my sunshine, and dance to life’s lessons. I talk about my depression, suicidal and being born with a learning disability. I felt defeated before I got out of bed in the morning. I tie that in with how my residents felt; and at times they too felt defeated and not heard. Finding My Sunshine, reminds us we can all dance in the sun regardless of our struggles.
Explain “Dance to Life’s lessons” what does that mean?
To me, it means, mistakes are not life sentences. I had to learn to forgive myself and learn that it was okay to do that. I had to come to an understanding, that I may never get an apology, or I may never have friendships recover from what I went through. Part of self-healing is moving on and not being weighed down by somebody else’s actions. They may think they did nothing wrong or hurtful.
What is a moment when you were proud to be a nurse?
I have many. But my most favorite memory, is when I took a young quadriplegic to a baseball game. Earlier in his life, he was hit by an 18-wheeler/semi-truck. I do not remember all the details of this horrific accident, but he survived.
He cannot talk due to having a tube in his throat for airway; he is connected to an oxygen machine/device all the time; and it has to be plugged in to work. I felt he was still present, only he did not know how to communicate. I asked him simple questions, and told him to blink once for yes, and blink twice for no. He did. I was so excited to have that connection with him. From what I knew at that time, he had not been taken outside to enjoy the sunshine or hear the birds. So I barrowed the maintenance extension cords, and took him outside. A single tear came down his face and a faint smile.
I asked his doctor if I could take him to a baseball game. The doctor did not understand why, when this resident was in a vegetable state. I was able to track down this resident POA who agreed to go with us. The MD finally agreed to let him go, but it was my license if anything happened to him while he was in my care.