A Daughter's Promise by [Lewis, Fran]Today I’m delighted to review “A Daughter’s Promise” by Fran Lewis. This is a wonderful tribute from a daughter to her mother. Ruth, the mother, tells in her own words how she feels about the diagnosis and subsequent suffering with Alzheimers, while Fran, the daughter describes her side of the story.
While being honest about the tragedy that the illness is, Fran manages to give hope and help for readers of this wonderful literary mosaic, which also includes lovely poems.
Fran includes basic facts about the illness before the story begins, so many misconceptions are cleared up before they can be falsely applied to the story. We all think we know much about the illness, but we know only a glimpse unless affected directly, and even then we know only one story.
Fran tells us this story, with the help of transcripts from her mother’s dictations, poems and anecdotes.
The later chapters include invaluable practical information and tips, insights and much food for thought for those who are in a similar situation.
What inspired me most about this book is that this is such a heart-warming love-story from a daughter who sacrifised so much of her own life to keep the promise to her mother never to put her in a home. Without judgement on those who can’t or won’t do the same as Fran, she details her decision and how she saw it through. In sharing this and all that she has learned from the experience, us others can benefit and see how it might be possible. And in maintaining the love for the parent without trying to get sympathy for herself, this is also a testimony to love and family values.
Amazing and touching.

Here is a previous post about Fran’s first book about her mother:7667730

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A bouquet of flowers freshly delivered from the florist has a special fragrance, scent and each flower’s color is bright and the stems stand straight and tall when placed in a vase filled with fresh water. As the days pass and the flowers remain in the vase the perfume scent changes, the flowers begin to wilt and the vibrancy of the colors begins to fade. Within a few days you might see some brown patches, some of the flowers begin to break off and eventually they will crumble in your hand. Imagine what happens when someone who is bright, intelligent, hard working and smart learns that he/she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s does not discriminate what it does is slowly wears away at your mind, steals your innermost thoughts, desires and feelings and what is left at the end is the outer covering or shell of the person you once were. There is no cure. There are many different causes and there are so many that wish that the research being done would finally find something to cure it, slow it down or somehow prevent others from having to deal with it. Miracles happen but this one could not happen soon enough. I wrote Memories are Precious in order to make sure that my mom’s voice would never be truly silenced, her thoughts and feelings would always be heard and that other families and caregivers would understand how precious their time is with someone with Alzheimer’s and how they can make the time they have special. Treating the person with respect, kindness, understanding and dignity is just part of it. Read Memories are Precious and hear my mom’s words, read her thoughts and that of many family members and know that you are not alone.

Montefiore Hospital set up a foundation in my mom’s name to donate funds to help find the cause of Alzheimer’s.

Donations can be made to

http://www.givetomontefiore.org/franlewis

in order to direct donations to Dr. Mehler and his Alzheimer’s and dementia research.

Thank you : Fran Lewis

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My review:

“Memories Are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s Story” by Fran Lewis is an amazing and a very important read that is informative, inspirational and heart warming.
The book is a selection of a huge variety of material: poems, personal dedications and love letters, short pieces of information, facts, guidelines, specific tips, testimonies, lists of resources and a great deal more that – as a family member of an Alzheimer patient – found invaluable.

The perspective changes slightly throughout the book, but mostly it tells the story of Ruth, the author’s mother, and there are some passages written by Ruth herself, others are written by Fran but from her mother’s perepective. Trying to descrive a day in her mother’s life as if the mother would perceive it is an ambitious undertaking that I felt came off the ground very well. It helps us once more to try and see the disease from the inside-perspective.

One part of the book deals with the stages and the course of the disease as Ruth experienced it. The initially harmless forgetfulness that in her case led to a stroke, induced by an involuntary drug overdose – due to the forgetfulness. Then the change of moods, even change of the use of language and therefore seemingly her character. We get reminded of the curse of the disease which is its inconsistency and unpredictability.

With much enthusiasm and strong conviction the author brings home the message and plea of love for the victim, the moral obligation for respect and our support as much as we can provide it.
The stories and snippets provide a picture of a loyal caring and selfless mother whose turn it has become to be on the receiving end of goodness.
I found these parts particularly touching and beautiful.
In this case the family agreed upon to keep the mother in the home, but far from being naive the family made plans and investigated to find out just how to go about it.

What follows is a practical guide to setting up your own home care, factual, specific tips regarding the environment and the attitude to bring to the table, meaning emotional and personal advice, and not just speak of safety and health.

Included is a short history of the disease, resources and information, websites and a list of signs and symptoms; advice on health care options, diagnosis tools and much more.

I found the selection of material at times somewhat unstructured but at the same time appreciated that the alternating of poems and heart warming stories with the facts serves an important purpose and brings the main message of this book home once more: Never forget that the patients and sufferers are the very same humans that we have known. By interrupting – as it were – the data and inserting a short poem or love letter by a family member to a sufferer, we never get carried away into a scientific and sterile thinking. [For those who are confused the table of contents will help to find what you need in any case]

Never forget the person behind the disease, never forget humanity and remember the bond that was once there, it still is there, hidden behind the symptoms of the disease.

This book is an amazing achievement, thank you for sharing your wisdom with the rest of us. I hope it will raise as much awareness for the disease and a need for a cure as is intended with it.

The book on

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

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