By Sarah Bearden Smith
Writing a book was never a dream of mine. A stay-at-home mom driving an SUV, aka “shuttle bus,” I carpool kids to and from school, soccer, flag football, lacrosse, basketball practices, games, and tournaments. As I became a caregiver to Mom, God began drawing me closer and closer to Him through my pain and sorrow.
Broken Beauty is the story of my mother—known as “Beauty” to our family— and our family’s journey through the devastating world of early-onset Alzheimer’s. I was a young mother in my thirties when my mother’s illness struck, and our family’s shock and pain at the disease’s manifestations has been nearly unbearable. At the time of her diagnosis, Beauty was still young and fit and my best friend. It’s a powerful and personal story about a daughter facing the unthinkable and the love I found to carry her through.
It’s my hope through our story that readers will feel the power of love. No matter the disease, struggle, or difficult circumstance, you are loved and can get through anything with God. My story is not so much about losing the mother I knew as it is an honest story of a family who has chosen life, not death, and who celebrates victory over tragedy. I show complete vulnerability and give readers who may be facing similar situations important insights into the lives of family, friends, and caregivers; memory care facilities; emotional and mental suffering; and heartbreak. But above all, it’s a story of searching for and finding hope in the storm, and finding forgiveness, restoration, and reconciliation in the process.
Also, for anyone going through early-onset Alzheimer’s, I hope they feel that this book gives them an authentic glimpse into the power of the disease and what is to come, and that no matter what they may tell themselves, they are not alone and there is no shame or guilt for any of the feelings they feel. It’s normal, and it’s okay. I want people to know there is purpose through pain, and I hope our journey opens every reader’s eyes to a unique kind of love. It is a love that is everywhere within the pages of this book and within the walls where Beauty resides.
And as for me, I don’t want to live with any regrets. I will continue to look into her heart, and eyes, and facial expressions, and will do my best to co-labor with God in her new world each day, being grateful that He is allowing me to shine light during this strenuous and laborious time. Mom is a human being with a name, and although this disease is a mystery and I want it to be cured, her life and my relationship with her are important, significant, and worthy of attention. Life matters, and every human being’s life should be valued.
About the Author
Sarah Bearden Smith is a housewife, mother of three, and a woman of deep faith, who has lived in Texas all her life. Sarah’s childhood was anchored by her family’s faith and their participation in church activities. She was a gifted athlete and reached elite status in competitive gymnastics by the time she was thirteen years of age. Sarah was born and raised in the Houston area and remained there until her departure for the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a speech communications major, a varsity cheerleader, and a member of Tri Delta Sorority. Following graduation, she remained in Austin, working in the software and high-tech industry. After her marriage to Thad Smith in 2002, the couple moved to Dallas, Texas. Through their years in Dallas, Sarah and her husband have served on various boards and committees, including the Greer Garson Gala, the Presbyterian Hospital Healthcare Foundation, East-West Ministries, AWARE Dallas, and the Providence Christian School of Texas. They actively serve with their children in assisted living and memory care facilities and support organizations such as Council for Life, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, and Community Bible Study. Sarah and her family are members of Watermark Community Church.
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