If there were ever a person with an undeniable blend of humble determination, illuminating love, and a never ending dedication to those who hold meaning in their life – CJ Golden would be her. One Pedal at a Time is, in my opinion, a must read for any and everyone who is, has been, or may in the future be facing any sort of medical trauma that requires ongoing care. Not only for the insight of do’s and don’ts while caring for a loved one, but also to soak up the tremendous example of positive attitude and personal interaction.
As weird as it is to label a book about Novice Caregiving as a lovely read, I’m going to do it. From cover to cover this book offers so much to learn from in terms of relationship and family values. And, yes lovely is the word I’m going with. Let me tell you why!
The beginning of One Pedal at a Time offers a run down about how CJ found herself married to Joe, as well as a little background of their lifestyles. Before courting, the two had known one another from group interactions while each were in their previous marriages. Once dating, they ultimately clicked, took their time in growing close, learned from one another, as well as respected the fact that their union was centered on more than just the two of them. Joe’s and CJ’s children, and grandchildren clearly hold the utmost importance in their lives.
One thing I love about this book is that CJ paints a clear picture of Joe before Leukemia and strokes took them for a loop. Joe is an accomplished, witty, up-beat, wholesome, and extremely supportive man. He’d helped CJ through medical difficulties of her own, and was a very prominent Cyclist. He even rode across the U.S. merely a year before strokes debilitated him.
A large portion of the book consists of emails that CJ had written to friends and family throughout Joe’s treatments and stays during the hardest year after diagnosis. This approach of writing helped to round the entire story. It allows us as the readers detailed insight on real time emotions as well as detailed treatments, good days vs. bad days, and more.
Together CJ and Joe face the world head on, in sickness and in health. Their relationship and their approach to life is general is, as I said before, absolutely lovely.
Watching her husband, Joe, regress from crossing the country on a bike to cheering him on as he navigated his wheelchair around the kitchen, CJ Golden had much to learn about caregiving. And she did – through her characteristic determination, quest for knowledge, boundless love and relentless optimism.
Within these pages the reader finds a balanced mix of somber reflections and light moments that highlight a very real passage in the lives of a husband and wife who love each other unequivocally. Golden shares the lessons she learned, the emotional and physical strain upon her heavily burdened shoulders, and the realization that, through it all, their connection and love have grown stronger.
Joe’s motto for getting through life’s most trying times has always been, “one pedal at a time” – referring to his days traversing the country, for months at a time, on the two wheels of his road bike. Thus, the title of this book and, hopefully, a philosophy that will help carry others through their own caregiving struggles.
One Pedal at a Time speaks to caregivers who need a place to turn to for information, inspiration and hope. And who enjoy a good love story.