Welcome Wednesday: A Caregiver’s Saga with Lynn Byk

Author: Lynn Byk

Genre: Memoir

Book: Mister B: Living with a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist

A caregiver’s account of a physicist who sought to invent gravity-defying vehicles. Eccentric as an old goat hanging from his toenails on the cliff’s edge, 98-year-old Mister B proves he could care less about being politically correct. #caregiver #memoir

A Caregiver’s Saga

Interview by Jenny Fulton

Lynn Byk is a pen name for an author who writes with an edge of cynicism, a soft middle core, one-part sadness, and two-parts curiosity. In this memoir, Lynn utilizes strong elements of humor as she chronicles how a 98-year-old physicist’s power to entice by goodwill, facts, and figures became a love language.

An Unlikely Kindred Spirit

“What’s the story behind this story?” I asked. “What inspired you to write this book?”

“In the midst of a painful transition, I felt displaced and strung out. I moved as a last resort into my father-in-law’s home to serve as his caretaker.  We had gotten along, but he was a grumpy eccentric, and I was eccentric myself in different ways.  As we learned to share the same house and find our way around each other, we accidently became the best of friends. I started relaying some of our breakfast conversations, stories of doctor’s visits, and trips to the grocery store on Facebook.  People began laughing, then suggesting, then begging for a book. It was a little awkward to write about a man who was alive and kicking with bunches of smart-alecky comments and staying active in his garden. I asked for his permission, and then began compiling stories in a concerted manner.  At first, when the book was published, and through the last month he lived, he would sign these books, ‘It’s all lies,’ for an autograph.”

Finding Purpose

Like many of us, Lynn struggled for years to find her purpose. She never dreamed she’d find it where she did.

“In my younger life,” Lynn shared, “my goal was to become a Christian musician.  I wrote songs. I studied the Bible. But music morphed and changed so much throughout my life, that I was deeply disappointed. I wandered around for years in different jobs. My husband and I eventually started a hospitality house for seminary students, and I found renewed purpose by serving and mentoring them for six years in that house. When that ministry was forced to end, I once again found myself searching for a mission. The last thing I envisioned or wanted to provide significance and meaning was to be the helper of a lonely old man. If someone had told me about the scripture saying to honor one’s parent is more honoring to God than giving alms and charity, I would have nodded in assent and kept moving.  Since I assumed I already had my calling, circumstances had just stolen it away from me, I wouldn’t have paid much attention. Surely that passage was speaking to others, not to me.  Looking back, if I hadn’t risen to the need of caring for this older man, I would never have learned self-respect.  I would still be looking for my purpose in life and I would still be disgruntled about how my calling was swept from under my feet. I’m so glad that the Lord knows best.  He never disappoints.  We cannot outgive God.”

Life After Life

“What are some of the themes in the book?” I asked.

“This book was a discovery in life after life.  In many ways, my comradery with the old man was the most delightful relationship I’d ever experienced.  We each provided the other with a reason to keep living. I fully expected him to discover the truth of Christ and His saving atonement for humans.  I assumed that he’d never been exposed to Christ as creator of the universe, so I set about trying to explain things to him even as he set about trying to explain physics to me and the corruption of humanity. We learned that two people having vastly different world views can learn to love each other and help each other.  Throughout the book, I am opining ‘why’ and ‘how’ even if I’m not directly complaining. In each instance, the surprises of God’s goodness and foresight create a sustaining force until I have enough of the pieces to look back with understanding and gratefulness.”

A Love for Our Elders

“What do you hope readers come away with after reading your book?”

“I hope readers are encouraged to love the elderly in practical ways.  An elderly person cannot buy love or conversation.  They can only buy a home health aide, or a maid, or a chauffeur. There’s a huge difference when it comes to dignity and enjoyment. I hope readers pick someone to help.  I hope a parent is included in the list.  I know that not all parents are a sundae with a cherry on top.  I know some parents have harmed or continue to be so harmful to children, that healthy boundaries must be constructed in order to maintain buoyancy. But, if imperfect parents can be helped in practical ways, I hope this story gives the reader the impetus to try and keep trying for the sake of honor, dignity, and self-respect.”

Find Mister B

You can find Mister B:  Living With a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist on Amazon. There is a large print edition as well.

Book Blurb for Mister B:  Living With a 98-Year-Old Rocket Scientist

A surprising paradigm develops when a 98-year-old stress physicist sets out to teach his new helper a few of his own life lessons, namely, how to live forever. How do you plan to live fully right to the end of life? The seeds an old man has sown prior to retirement may or may not serve him well.

Eccentric as an old goat hanging from his toenails on the cliff’s edge, Mister B proves he could care less about being politically correct. That’s not Mister B’s style. This book provides an enjoyable study in how to move one’s self over.

Connect with Lynn

2 comments

  1. Lynn Byk has captured the journey with Mr. B from begrudgingly becoming his caretaker to soon discovering his stories, his mirth, and his worth. “Mr. B: Living with a 98-year old Rocket Scientist” is a fascinating book written as a journal. I was intrigued and then delighted as I read this book. Mr. B was much more than he first appeared, and Lynn unravels his life and personality in an engaging way. I highly recommend this book! And I loved learning more about the author in this interview. 3 cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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