In caring for his wife, Linda, as she battled ovarian cancer for eight years, Batavia resident Christopher Cudworth learned about character, caregiving and community.
His book, “The Right Kind of Pride,” is built around a series of blogs distributed to a community of more than 80 volunteer caregivers who assisted Cudworth and his wife. She passed away last year.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Cudworth about his book.
Eric Schelkopf: I understand the book is inspired by a series of blogs that you distributed to the caregivers who helped you out.
Chris Cudworth: We wanted to communicate to them and also say thank you. Rather than just tell our needs, I started writing about us and I started writing about other people that I met, and really turned it into a dialogue with all these people.
When she was going through chemotherapy or whatever, I would be writing, because I didn’t have much else to do while I was sitting there. I’d write, and I’d read it back to her.
And of course, laughingly at times, she would say, “You can’t say that.” Because I get goofy and have fun.
These are not blogs that are really depressing. They are about survivorship and how you can be positive.
I even wrote one from the perspective of our dog. I really tried to use some literary devices to sort of increase the interest of these blogs, because we were really grateful. People were bringing us meals and driving Linda to get care and all that sort of thing.
Our philosophy was as we are blessed, let us try to be a blessing to others. After she passed, I wrote an epilogue. I thought it merited a response to everyone that had gone on this journey with us.
But also, it was my way of processing grief. It was my way of making sense of a lot of what I felt.
Schelkopf: What is the significance of the book title?
Cudworth: Linda did not take the role of victim. One of the things that we wanted to communicate is that it is good to share where you really are and to be honest.
We were always honest with our kids. We were always honest with everyone around us. So, there is sort of a vulnerability.
That’s where the book title kind of comes from. Having pride and being open and honest with people is the right kind of pride.
It’s about having pride and being willing to be honest about your situation.
Schelkopf: What would you like people to get out of the book?
Cudworth: I try to communicate to people through this book that they do have the tools to be a caregiver. They do have the tools to be a patient.
Because nobody feels real prepared for cancer. But if you take the time to analyze who you are and where you come from, there is strength there.
Cancer is sort of the symbol, but the book is about facing life’s challenges.