National Gerontological Nursing Association

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Through the generosity of my publisher, HarperCollins, copies of The Sweet By and By were given to 200 attendees of the 2010 National Gerontological Nursing Association Convention held earlier this month in Palm Springs. Included below is my letter to the delegates. I share it for the sake of the thousands of nurses who were not in attendance.

October 12, 2010

Dear Nurses,

Please accept my warmest greetings on the cusp of the 2010 National Gerontological Nurses Association Convention. Thanks to the generosity of my publisher, HarperCollins, I’m delighted to share with you my recent novel THE SWEET BY AND BY.

As I indicated in a special Author’s Note included in the paperback edition, while the novel is not autobiographical, it is at its core a love letter to my two grandmothers. From the time I was a toddler growing up in North Carolina, my grandmothers were an intimate and integral part of my life. Toward the end of their lives, both spent time in nursing homes, one when she was in well into her nineties, and the other as a much younger woman in her sixties, when she was unfortunately riddled with illness to the extent that she was simply no longer able to live alone.

When I visited them in their respective elder care facilities, which I did often, I found that I wanted to make notes about things they said and did. I had no thought of ever writing a work of fiction, but rather wanted to collect private reflections about two women whom I loved deeply. Of course, part of that experience also entailed getting to know personally many of the extraordinary caregivers in whose hands my grandmothers found themselves. I have many memories of those days, some heartwarming, some painful, others -- many in fact -- hilarious.

My hope in writing THE SWEET BY AND BY was to give the most authentic voices I could to a group of women whose stories are rarely heard and whose actions are invisible but whose lives are nonetheless vibrant. I have received hundreds of letters from family members of aging loved ones as well as RNs, LPNs, and CNAs all over America who most often thank me for simply “seeing” them. This is a gift I never could have imagined, and a sampling of these letters is included at the end of the book. If I have in any way honored the selfless commitment of nurses such as yourselves, then I am rewarded beyond measure as an author.

If you’d like to share thoughts or stories of your own after reading the book, please do write to me at: I’d love to hear from you.

All best wishes to you for a successful convention along with my thanks for your service. I believe that our nation’s elderly belong to all of us, and your dedication is an inspiration when it comes to protecting and celebrating the treasure that they are.

Kindest regards,

Todd Johnson


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