Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mother's Little Helper

My mother has been my greatest cheerleader since my stroke, driving me to therapy, holding my hand during Botox injections, and encouraging me when I feel hopeless. Sometimes I feel she’s naively optimistic.

This same “can-do” attitude prompted her at age 71 to embark on writing a non-fiction book about a program she participated in during college. My mother admits that when she volunteered at an alumni meeting to document the program’s history, she had no idea what she was getting into.

She researched for a couple years, produced a 600-page draft, and showed it to fellow alumni who changed some commas. But she needed more help and nobody was better positioned than me – a professional editor – to provide it.

I hesitated: Would editing the book take too much time away from rehab? Could I sit at the computer for long hours given my physical restrictions?

My husband encouraged me to volunteer. As well as “paying back” all the support Mom gave me post-stroke, working on the book would give me something to focus on besides rehab, and would show me whether I had the stamina to pursue my own dream of writing books.

After more than a year of intense editing, the book has been published; program alumni are happy; and Mom and I have bonded at a whole new level. Just as important, I’ve discovered one more thing I’m capable of doing despite my disability. 

Of course, my mother never had any doubts.

Project India: How College Students Won Friends for America, 1952-1969 by Judith Kerr Graven, available through and Barnes & Noble in print and ebook formats.


  1. Wow - thank you for sharing this - you and your mom are awesome and a great encouragement for pushing the boundaries - congratulations!

  2. Always push boundaries. Your Mom and I were in India at the same time. I really miss writing. Eventually, it will all come back, I hope.

    1. Were you touring or studying in India?

    2. Congratulations on bring published, Marcelle! what a wonderful feat!