By Kimberly Williams-Paisley
4 out of 5 stars
I am always a bit leery about reviewing a memoir or autobiography because really, who am I to tell you that your life story isn’t good enough. I wasn’t leery at all going into reading this book. We all become one big group, we caretakers of parents with dementia. My mom did not have the same kind of dementia as Linda Williams but Kimberly wrote so much of what I felt, the sadness, the loss, the anger, the helplessness.
Kimberly Williams-Paisley grew up in a loving family. She seemed to have the usual problems with her mother that many teens have. I definitely did. My mom and I were not close during those years. I honestly think becoming a parent changes the way you look at your mother. When she decides to marry Brad, her mom is not very supportive and that hurts her but her mom, at that time, had slowly started her decline. They just didn’t know it yet. Hindsight is 20/20, I have those moments now where I go “it must have been starting back then”. Things start to move a bit faster and she is diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia. She will lose the ability to speak, form sentences. And then of course, there are all the lovely things that go along with dementia like the forgetting, the anger. They finally have to decide to find her an assisted living home, a decision you can’t take lightly.
It’s the hardest thing to become a parent to your parent. My mom suffered from Lewy Body Dementia for over 4 years. She could always speak and usually recognized everyone but the fear and the anger were so hard at times. Nothing I could do would soothe her and I would get angry. Reading this, it was so good to not feel alone. I hated myself for losing patience but I was her caregiver. It was me and her against the world and the world of dementia isn’t pretty. Kimberly’s therapist Karen said something so profound and that has stayed with me after closing the book, “Don’t look at what you’re not getting from your mother. Look at what you are getting.” I received so much from those years of taking care of her. There were those lovely moments when the light did shine in.
There is a section with questions and answers that are very helpful for people just starting this journey. There are very good questions to ask your doctor and to find out if taking care of your loved one at home or if you need help is the answer.
Thank you so much for writing this book. I think with your voice, you will make people feel as if they are not alone. As if their feelings matter too.