09 Apr One woman’s solution to caregiving stress: Happy hour
Though Kathryn Leigh Scott has enjoyed a long and successful career as an actress, she’s also made a life as a writer, too. Some of her work involves companion books to Dark Shadows, the sixties television show where she found stardom. Among her other published work is an oral history of Playboy Bunnies, a job she herself held that helped put her through acting school.
Writing proved Scott’s salvation as she cared for her beloved husband, Geoff Miller, the founding editor of Los Angeles magazine, as his health deteriorated. At his doctor’s suggestion, she kept a detailed journal on his treatment, which Scott expanded to include her emotional response to the challenges they faced. What also got her through those difficult years of Miller’s demise from progressive supra-nuclear palsy was a simple act of hospitality that might seem daunting to others serving as caregiver.
Every day, Scott and Miller, inveterate entertainers, opened their doors for happy hour. In this way, friends and former colleagues could pop in for a drink and a nosh and a visit. It imbued this difficult situation with a bit of normalcy, allowing a more manageable setting than a hospital room for those uncomfortable with coming face-to-face with an ill person.
Scott’s book, Now With You, Now Without, is the outcome of that time, expanding on her journals and life in the aftermath of Miller’s death. This book should be required reading for anyone faced with the task of caring for a loved one. In addition to the happy hours, the couple continued traveling around the world after his diagnosis. Her chronicles of how she managed that, as well as wisdom she gleaned from her elderly mother and an older woman she met early in her career, add an additional sense of positivity to this bittersweet memoir of love and loss.
Happy hour turned out to be Scott’s salvation as she reentered the world as a widow. We talked about how in our conversation a few weeks back. Please give the latest Gracefully a listen.