Thursday, April 23, 2015

Piece by Piece

I haven’t written an Alz World post since Bob died a little over a year ago.  Something went out of me when he passed away – all those years of care-giving, all the protracted grief, all the worries of how I’d keep him safe – it left an unexpected void in my life. I thought I would have more time to relax but instead I put myself to finishing a book I’d started in 2009. 

Our Early Years in Bali
Now completed, Piece by Piece- Love and the Land of Alzheimer’s, is about grieving the protracted loss of a soul mate and the lessons learned along the way. I’m hoping it will bring solace to other caregivers in despair at slowly losing a loved one to this terrible disease. My experiences are woven into the story of our lives of travel, inner and outer exploration, friendship and love, and being blessed to be able to live our dreams. 

Piece by Piece is written vividly and openly because these were things I needed to read to more easily face the day-to-day reality of the disease. I want to assure caregivers that what they are going through is the normal emotional roller coaster of the consequences of Alzheimer’s and affects everyone involved. I want to inspire caregivers whether they choose the long haul until death or whether they find they can no longer cope and need to find a home for the AD person. In this avalanche of a disease, we need each others stories.

Now the hard part begins – getting it published. I'm leaning towards self-publishing since the author has to do the marketing even with traditional publishers these days. Publishing is currently a volatile and rapidly changing business. 


I hadn't thought that Bob's passing would leave such an emptiness. I thought I'd grieved each piece as it fell away from his personality and that there was little left to bid adieu, so it shook me when sadness descended, especially as the first anniversary of his death loomed near. I decided to honor it and made a small alter with a photo of us, some shells because he loved the sea, a small vase of flowers and lit a 24-hour candle to burn in his honor. And once the year anniversary passed something shifted - it felt like a milestone and my new life had promise. It had light.

I miss Bob but oddly it's as though those fourteen years of Alzheimer's have faded into the background and what I remember and miss is the kind, compassionate, funny, loving man I married. I pass his photo and feel a surge of gratitude for what we had. Thank you, Bob!