A new-ish book!
I’m excited to let you know that I’ve contributed a chapter to a great book that is out on shelves. I’m a little behind in sharing this news but with the launch of my revamped website, now is as good a time as ever to chat about it.
This important anthology of caregiver stories, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving Stories Vol. 1. was recently published by AlzAuthors. In it, a community of writers, all touched by dementia in some way, reveal the stories behind their books; what made them share their stories and the gifts of doing so. I join them with our backstory to Green Vanilla Tea
For those of you who don’t know about AlzAuthors, I encourage you to check them out. They’ve created a friendly online resource, giving you easy access to a comprehensive collection of books about dementia, all in one place: Memoirs, caregiver guides, novels, children’s books, and blogs.
This new book is available in paperback, ebook and audio. And the great thing – all proceeds from sales are going back to AlzAuthors.com to help them maintain their site and to build and promote more resources.
If you or caregiver friends are in need of information and support, keep this resource in mind. It’s handy for professionals, too. I am always interested in the power of stories to grow empathy, connection and understanding. Their collection of books does just that.
We often hear that there are limited resources out there for caregivers of people living with dementia.
It was certainly the case for us. There was nothing our young family could tap into. Green Vanilla Tea was, in part, a response to this. I remember when my then teenage sons shared with me the experiences that had left them feeling “erased.” The three of us talked together about what it was like to live inside an invisible story. How isolating it can be to feel so shaped by an experience that others have no way to connect to or understand. We bashed some words about that night:
It was confusing but real. Life shaping but indescribable. Powerful yet dismantling and strange.
But these were still just words; adjectives without a place to land because in dementia world, everything was upside down or inside out or invisible. How do you make real to others, things that are chaotic and slippery and hard to see?
As I wrote our story for the boys, I noticed, more closely, the social and cultural issues that were impacting them. Outside the world of medical language that explains symptoms and treatment options, there was no everyday conversation that helped people understand the social impact of dementia on a young family with teens. Not that we found anyway. This was some years back and, admittedly, I’m not up to date with current resources. However, when we were living this, there were no established services for young people; no stories; no clues. People associate the word ‘chemo’ with cancer, there are pink ribbons and bandanas. There were no such ready-made social signifiers for the likes of us. No books or movies. No Memory Walks or Younger Onset programs. In a social context, when there are no signifiers of any kind – where does the experience go?
No wonder the boys felt like they did. There was nothing to hang their story on. It was as if the words they used simply fluttered to the ground, to be blown away by the wind.
So I raked them all up and together with the boys, we managed to “capture them somehow” and “give the story form.”
Later, it went out to the world in the shape of a book.
There’s a collective intelligence found in shared stories. They have the capacity to remind us of our humanity; to dismantle shame; to invite empathy and understanding; to connect us.
This is what makes change possible.
AlzAuthors have a comprehensive collection of books and valuable resources for you. Pop over and have a look. Like they say,
‘You are not alone.’
As for us, the boys have grown into glorious men. They have well and truly launched into exciting chapters of their lives. There are new stories unfolding. I’m finally ready to write about them so bunkering down to the next book. I think ‘Dom’ would be very proud.