A Million Tiny Things
My Experience in Caregiving
"Everything I know, I have learned."
               Renée Norman

This book is a 'must read' for the millions of people who during the next decade will be caring for the needs of an ailing loved one.  Renee Norman has sensitively addressed the subject of her husband's illness, his rapid decline, and his untimely death with both a caring demeanor and an objective assessment of both the supportive and dysfunctional behaviors displayed by those who assisted in the care of her husband during the final months of his life.  Two of the most significant attributes of this book are seen in the do's and don'ts of services to those in need of our care and support, versus the disturbing reality of the behaviors of some people in exemplifying the negative elements of the human condition. 

Aaron Liberman, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Department of Health Management & Informatics

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida 


“When you reach the end of the rope tie a knot in it, and hang on”  - Thomas Jefferson. 

We sometimes underestimate the influence of little things. This book has great small details which can certainly make a significant impact in a caregiver’s life. ALS is a mortifying neurological condition which not only incapacitates patients physically and emotionally, but certainly puts a great stress on the caregiver.  Due to the rapid progressive course of ALS, it gives a little time to prepare to deal with it. I  wish there was a panacea for all the diseases but unfortunately there is none, all you can do is  learn from someone’s experience,  as when you know better you do better . This book prepares you well for the unknown.  

Noma Rehman, MD, Neurologist 


As a nurse who has worked with ALS patients and their families for many years, I am certain that this book will prove helpful to many families who are learning to cope with a diagnosis of ALS or any other terminal illness.  Renee Norman’s honest first-hand account of her experience as a caretaker is both compelling and informative, transforming a very personal emotional journey into a guide to help others find their way through the same unfamiliar territory.  I would recommend A Million Tiny Things to anyone who is touched by terminal illness, from family and friends to medical professionals.  Thank you, Renee, for sharing your story.

Debbie Eggleston RN, MSN

Nurse Navigator, Palliative Care
ALS Nurse Coordinator


Though much focus and attention are placed on individuals with terminal or chronic illnesses, the caregivers tending to their loved ones are often overlooked.  In A Million Tiny Things, Renee Norman offers tremendously helpful and insightful solutions for many of the everyday challenges facing a long-term caregiver.  Drawing from her experience of caring for her husband battling ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Renee shares her incredibly personal stories and experiences with remarkable candor and strength.  Through her proactive and pragmatic approach, Renee provides ready-to-use templates and practical tips, illustrating that in caregiving, “the devil is in the detail.”    

Andrea Shaver, Executive Director

Muscular Dystrophy Association 


Renee has written a very practical and personal guide about caring for her husband following his diagnosis of ALS. Some of her experiences are heartwarming, others heartbreaking.  In an honest and frank manner, she details the challenges she faced, how she dealt with them and the lessons learned along the way.  

These lessons apply to anyone caring for a loved one who is living with a debilitating disease. This is a life-changing event and, often, an overwhelming one. With her guidance, other caregivers will be empowered to face their own challenges. 

Renee is correct: When caring for a loved one who is dying, a million tiny things need to be faced. And with her help, you need not face them alone.

Cathy Easter, former Director of Philanthropy, ALS Association - DC/MD/VA Chapter


A Million Tiny Things, by Renee Norman is absolutely captivating! This original gem is a must for any person embarking on the long and often confusing and lonely road of caregiving. This book goes way beyond most self help books; it’s an amazing combination of simplicity and depth. It is a cogently laid out compendium of encouragement, validation and information.  

Renee Norman chronicles the journey that followed her husband, Chris Norman’s diagnosis of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease). She shares the emotional, social, spiritual and physical experiences of caring for a loved one with a terminal illness. She gracefully describes being there for her husband while juggling other roles like motherhood and helping her children through the painful process of losing their father. 

Her desire to reach out and spare others pain is compelling. She offers razor-sharp insights and practical suggestions that every caregiver should have in his or her toolbox. Her tips on time management and proactive self care are beyond helpful. She bravely goes into the often avoided topic of dealing with the complex and challenging reactions of the patient’s friends and family. She has a knack for clarity and logic but at the same time validates the emotional rollercoaster inherent in dealing with a terminal illness in a loved one. The reader can almost feel her pain, loss, grief as well as her healing and wisdom. Each “tiny thing” is a good nugget in its own right, but together the collection and tapestry of her story and the path traveled is inspirational. 

Pamela J. MacMillan, Ph.D.

Medical Psychologist

Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation 


Photo taken just after Chris' diagnosis of ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease, October 2007.

Photo taken by Carolyn Evans