Alzheimer's Daughter

The Story

Alzheimer’s Daughter introduces the reader to my healthy parents, Ed and Ibby, years before their diagnosis, then recounts painful details as our roles reversed and I became my parents’ parent.

Their disease started as translucent, confused thoughts and ended in a locked memory care unit after a near decade of descent into the opaque world of Alzheimer's.

I began writing Alzheimer’s Daughter one week after my mother's death––when I was stunned, realizing Dad had no memory of her or their 66-year marriage.

I write to pay tribute to the undying spirit at Ed and Ibby's core, and with the hope that the story of their parallel decline might be helpful to others.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WWII Love Letters

I love this picture of my mom and dad. It embodies such hope for the future. They had a good life, a good marriage, 67 years long. 

Near the end of life, even when they didn't know me, and Mom had lost her ability to speak, Dad would wrap his hand around hers and repeat their mantra, "We've been so lucky, we're so happy."

Even after Mom passed, when I visited Dad he'd repeat the same mantra, still using the plural pronoun "we."

During the cleanout of my parents' house I found their WWII love letters. After their deaths, my sister and I stood over the trash can ready to throw the letters away, thinking it would be an invasion of their privacy to read words they'd written intending for only each other. But we peeked and became enthralled. 

I knew the letters must become part of Alzheimer's Daughter. The letters bring Mom and Dad's voices to the book by showing their budding love and devotion which held them together through their decline six decades later.

One reviewer writes:

"Lee’s familiar Alzheimer’s memoir format is elevated to a classic love story by the revelation of Ed and Ibby Church’s extraordinary courtship and marriage. World War II lovebirds, the couple’s timeless love letters are shared at the beginning of each chapter, written during their separation while Ed served in the Army. This touching correspondence adds a romantic element to keep the couple’s devotion, for each other and their family, central to their inevitable fate."

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