The journey began slowly.
After the death of Ken’s dad in 1997, his mom continued to live alone in the family home in Pennsylvania. Ken and his family lived in Nashville, other siblings and family lived in Florida. All of them made frequent visits to see Minnie. Ken said his mom could be “quirky”, so some odd behaviors his mom did were just written off as that part of her personality, or habits picked up by living alone.
Ken walks us through the different steps down Minnie took as her quality of life was taken away by dementia. Minnie goes from her family home, then being able to function in a small apartment, to needing the services of an assisted living residence, to the heartbreaking move to a nursing home.
Ken talks about the frustration of medications given to his mother that weren’t needed or were too strong. He relates how some doctors can be callus when talking about their loved ones. And, of course, the high economic cost of getting medical services.
Ken is very honest about the feelings and frustrations he and his mom experienced. He tells us about the many lows they walked through. He also relates some of the highs, too–and the good times seem to shine all the brighter when they are surrounded by desperate times. Ken tells us that despite all the struggles Minnie had, and things she lost, her ability to play the piano and sing was one of the last things to leave. He talks about the strong Christian faith Minnie and he shared. Ken relates the many prayers he and others prayed for his mom.
Ken treasured the time with his mom, even when she was losing many of her functions and abilities. Minnie still had value. I admire Ken for visiting Minnie everyday when she was in the nursing home.
Some of Ken and Minnie’s journey was familiar territory. My father passed away in 2008 after a seven year battle that began with his sudden loss of sight to macular degeneration, at the same time, he developed Parkinson’s disease, hearing problems and dementia. We also experienced caregivers that gave wrong dosages of medication, that stole things from dad, or were uncaring. We, too, had the heartbreak of watching someone you love have their essence of personality and physical abilities stolen a little bit at a time by dreadful diseases–along with the physical pain they endured. We know the impotence of not being able to change or fix-it for our loved one.
There are things in this book that are hard to read. For people who have already lived through a similar journey, this is a story that can be related to, but might open up old sorrows. This is an eye opening book for anyone who has the blessing of parents who are in good health. It should be read, just in case.
I give this book five stars.
The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through Thomas Nelson Publishing for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner. Despite my receiving the book free, it has not influenced my judgment, and I have given an honest opinion.