Along the Way: Thoughts of Love, Loss, and Caregiving

What makes a caregiver?

It’s a question with many different answers. As a nurse, I’ve been a caregiver to my patients for more than thirty years. That’s obvious. I’ve also been a caregiver as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and volunteer. Almost everyone I know has been a caregiver in some capacity, but many would not consider themselves as such. Paid or unpaid, male or female, part-time or fulltime, family or friend, willingly or begrudgingly, in person or long distance. If you give of yourself for the betterment of another, you are a caregiver.


Along the Way explores the complex relationship between love, loss and caregiving. The precious moments of beauty found in a sea of pain, the laughter that makes it possible to keep going, the lessons found in unexpected places, and the memories and rituals that bring comfort. When faced with challenges that seem both unfair and insurmountable, when grieving and alone, it is these small moments that make all the difference. Rest assured, they will come.

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The Scenic Route: Adventures in the Life of a Traveling Nurse

"Nurse Colleen isn't a woman─she's a nurse!" With that simple statement, one of my campers summed it up perfectly. In a life full of change, nursing is the constant. Whether sleeping in a Mexican hospital, wrestling an inflatable alligator, dispensing prunes, or supporting parents as their child is taken off life support, the unforgettable moments in my life are found in nursing. To me, nursing is a calling. It's the job I was born to do and the role that defines me. I wouldn't have it any other way. The Scenic Route is the story of my life-long journey through nursing: the laughter, tears, joy, and pain that come with the choice to serve others. This book gives readers a glimpse behind the scenes of child psychiatry, developmental disabilities, pediatric critical care, camp nursing, and legal nurse consulting. Welcome to my world. 

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Miles from Home: A True Story of the Choices That Define Us

What would you do for your best friend? When Sean called, asking me to help him drive his parents from Wisconsin to Washington, I found out. Sean's mother had Alzheimer's disease and his father was dying from lung cancer. We were taking them to their final home, an assisted living facility near Sean. And while his dad said he didn't want it to be an ambulance ride, it was clear this wasn't any vacation. Sean and I had thirty years of history. He was my best friend, my first love...and, until very recently, the man I was living with. He was the man who wrote the words I'd carry in my heart my entire adult life, and the man who broke my heart. Miles from Home is the true story of our cross-country trip, an end-of-life journey for one person and new beginnings for the rest of us. It is a story about life, death, friendship, and the choices we make. It is about the messiness of life, and, ultimately, the power of love.

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Colleen Lanier is a registered nurse with a private consulting firm. She lives in North Carolina where she works, writes, and continues her quest for the perfect cup of coffee. 


Along the Way, due for release in December 2017, is her third published work. Her two prior books, The Scenic Route (2013) and Miles from Home (2012), have combined for over 40,000 copies in circulation.