This Encore Shares Life Lessons of Caring for Her Beloved Mother
“Taking Care of Miss Bee Bee” may or may not ever become a best-seller, but for its author, the only thing that counts is that it was generated by an act of love.
“It honors the memory of my mother,” says Cheryl Edwards-Cannon, who has spent fully 10 years compiling anecdotes about the life and times – and gentle death – of her mother Virginia, a.k.a. “Miss Bee Bee.”
Cheryl never started out to become an author, even though she did earn a minor in journalism en route to a degree in secondary education from Central Michigan University in 1978. Later, she earned a master’s in management from Aquinas College.
Her professional life included managerial and executive positions at General Motors, Westinghouse Knoll Group, Herman Miller, National Heritage Academies and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I had a lot of different experiences,” she says, “and all of them have proven to be the types of experiences I needed to become the person that I am.”
In virtually every instance, Cheryl was involved in cultivating relationships designed to better others’ lives.
She currently works as a school consultant for Grand Valley State University’s Charter Schools, assisting schools with student recruiting efforts.
But in these, her encore years, she’s also devoting time to a business she founded three years ago entitled “Clear Path Choices.”
She was motivated to do so in dealing with the onset of Bee Bee’s dementia, which surfaced during the late 1990s. Bee Bee died last year, but not before her oldest child Cheryl became immersed in the complicated decisions that attend those entering their last chapter of life.
What Cheryl discovered is that there was a lack of direction for those seeking counsel on matters regarding physical, social, emotional, spiritual and financial concerns.
“It was hard for me to find an organization that explained it all for me,” she says.
Enter Clear Path Choices (clearpathchoices.com), which works to develop a customized plan with answers to all of the above.
Her journey – and the experiences she’s had with both her late mother and her 91-year-old father, who lives in an area retirement community – prompted her to fold her work into the book.
And she was buoyed when she sent off one of her anecdotes to the “Chicken Soup” series of books and was accepted for publication.
She promises to debut a book that is both bittersweet and humorous, playing up the everyday challenges affecting those growing old and needing to make decisions that affect others around them, surviving relatives especially.