A Life of Love and Adventure—and Loss
When her husband, Don, called on his way to the hospital, Kathi Koll had no idea how dramatically their lives would change—or how her loving heart and indomitable spirit would fight it.
From childhood, her life might have seemed charmed: play dates with Lucie Arnaz, real dates with a future TV idol, and a big brother engaged to film star Dolores Hart. But behind the scenes, her role as a caregiver began early. A mother dying of cancer, a father battling alcoholism, a brother with a debilitating disease, and a painful divorce threatened to tear her world apart.
But then Kathi found Don Koll—her "knight." Like living a movie script, Don and Kathi sailed to far off places, solved a carjacking, and cracked jokes with the president. Their joie de vivre and unstoppable moxie made everything feel possible. Until Don woke up "locked in" after his catastrophic stroke.
With unflinching honesty and humor, Kathi shares the realities of a life in uncharted territory as a full-time caregiver, from turning her home into a mobile hospital to the complications of intimacy. Her ability to share sorrows while laughing at herself helped her find a New Normal where she and Don could live each day to its fullest.
Her journey, steeped in the joy of living in the moment, teaches us what it means to never lose hope for tomorrow—at the best of times and under the worst of circumstances.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
In this debut memoir, the wife of a wealthy entrepreneur cares for him after his debilitating stroke and reflects with pride on a life of service.
Koll opens her remembrance with the story of her brother, Don Robinsons courting actress Dolores Hart, who abruptly canceled her engagement to Robinson in 1963 to join a monastery. Robinson never married, Koll says, but he maintained a platonic friendship with Hart until his death. With this star-studded beginning, readers may expect more celebrities, and there are a few: One of Kolls childhood friends was Lucie Arnaz, for instance, and she later dated Mark Harmon. However, the author mainly tells of overcoming challenges, such as her fathers drinking problem, her mothers death from cancer, and a divorce from her first husband. The heart of the book is devoted to her second marriage to the Los Angeles real estate developer and philanthropist Don Koll. Their first date was at a 1997 White House reception. There are accounts of Beverly Hills dinners, vacations in St. Tropez, and even an encounter with a car thief in France. In 2005, however, Don had a stroke, which changed Kolls life forever. She became his caregiver, helping him through daily tasks of living until his death in 2011the same year that her brother died. In this memoir, Koll offers cleareyed memories of hospitals, health care, and hope. The subject matter may remind some readers of The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didions 2005 account of coping with her husbands death while tending to her sick daughter. Koll isnt as contemplative as Didion is, but she does know how to make the people in her memories feel real to readers. Although the celebrity cameos sometimes feel gratuitous, the authors attitude is consistently uplifting. She tells of working tirelessly to improve Dons and her own quality of life; at one point, she asked his doctor if there might be a way for the couple to have one more roll in the hay. You never give up, his doctor told her latera perfect summary of this clever, comforting memoir.
An engaging, warts-and-all telling of the ups and downs of a full-time caregiver.