Fran Lewis channels her mother’s voice beautifully in this short book, Memories are Precious, giving a haunting glimpse into the darkness of losing oneself to Alzheimer's and the struggle of caring for someone as they disappear.
Alzheimer’s is a much more complex illness than I’d realized, involving not just loss of memory but loss of control over bodily functions, loss of dignity and loss of purpose. The mother who once interpreted the cries of a child now has her own silence interpreted by that grown-up child. Meanwhile the story of Ruth’s gradual decline gives interesting and helpful highlights, not just for Alheimer’s sufferers and their carers, but also for others wondering about that occasional memory lapse or forgotten purpose.
The blend of personal recollection, poetry, narrative, pleas for more research, and helpful information works well, giving a personal face to an illness that deprives its sufferers of their personhood and carers of the time to maintain their own identity.
“Mom! We will never stop fighting for you and never give up on a cure!” declares the author in the final pages. In these days where more and more fall prey to this illness, it should perhaps be the cry of us all.
Disclosure: I won a free copy of this book from the author.