AlzAuthor Linda Brendle Shares Her Alzheimer’s Caregiving Story in “Mom’s Long Goodbye,” a Memoir

By Linda Brendle

Several years ago I wrote A Long and Winding Road, the story of the hilarity and chaos that happened when my husband and I took Mom and Dad, both of whom had Alzheimer’s, on a seven-week, sixteen-state trek across the southeastern U.S. in a forty-foot motor home. In it I also told of the years and the life experiences that brought the four of us together. Readers responded to the emotions in the story – the humor, the joy, the sorrow. But most of all, they responded to the love, and they wanted to know what happened next. Mom’s Long Goodbye is the rest of the story.

This memoir is based on blog posts written as the events happened – when the details were fresh and the emotions were raw – and I knew I couldn’t write anything that was more real. The story takes the reader through grieving a continuous loss, some of the initial changes Alzheimer’s causes, the transition from caregiving to assisted living, Dad’s death, Mom’s last year, and the grief and closure of her final good-bye. It is about the good, the bad, and the ugly of Alzheimer’s – the harsh reality that dementia is bad and ugly, but the sweet truth that there are also precious moments.

I wanted to not only expose the realities of Alzheimer’s, but to strip away the face of the perfect caregiver and give the reader a look at the denial, anger and fear that come as a loved one loses herself a piece at a time to this insidious disease. Through sharing my own struggles, I tried to assure others that they are not alone, that perfection is not required, and that comfort is real. Most of all I wanted them to know that there is life after caregiving. Reader feedback indicates that I have been successful in offering hope and comfort.

One interviewer asked me what I thought my parents would think about my books. Here’s how I answered:

Mom and Dad were very private people, and from an earthly perspective, I think they would be embarrassed about some of the personal details I shared. I struggled with that before I published, but after much prayer and meditation, I decided to go ahead. Now, if they could look back from Heaven and see how their stories are helping those who are going through the same things, I think they would be pleased.

Folk wisdom says that “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” and as I wrote one chapter in A Long and Winding Road, that saying was proved true in our family from time to time. However, I truly believe that both Mom and Dad would be happy with their stories and that, like me, they would feel that helping others through their experiences gives some meaning to their otherwise senseless struggles with Alzheimer’s. My task of caregiving was long and arduous, but after having told the rest of the story, I now feel that I have finished that task, and that I have finished well.

Purchase Mom’s Long Goodbye Now

About the Author

After years as a family caregiver, Linda Brendle began to write as a way of helping herself and others deal with the pain and frustration of caregiving. Now that her parents are eternally healed, she writes about life in the country, her feral Kitty, and her amazingly patient husband David.

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New Release Spotlight: “Secrets Never Die,” Romantic Suspense by Laurie Lewis

new release spotlight

This week’s new release is written by my AlzAuthors colleague Laurie Lewis. Laurie is a prolific author, giving us romance, women’s, historical, and general fiction. Her  award-winning novel The Dragons of Alsace Farm is a featured AlzAuthors book.

img_4032About Laurie’s New Book

Tallie Brown’s life has never made sense. Raised in isolation by her mother, Julia, Tallie was dragged suddenly and without explanation from one third-world outpost to another until life normalized seven years ago when Julia took a position on a mountaintop in the Pacific northwest. But when Julia unexpectedly dies, Tallie uncovers clues suggesting that Julia had a secret life.

Journalistic phenom Jackson James is still recovering from the devastating mistake that flatlined his promising career. Now he’s paying the price, working as the editor of a syrupy community rag in a posh D.C. suburb. But when the very man who destroyed him drops a tantalizing lead about a potential D.C. scandal, the reporter sees his chance for redemption and sets off to chase the story.

Jackson’s investigation leads him to Cutler’s Ridge, a dying Virginia coal town, and directly into the path of the mysterious and beautiful Tallie. As these two mistrustful loners follow their leads, their stories begin to intertwine until they reach an alarming conclusion – something terrible happened in Cutler’s Ridge. As they doggedly pursue the story, the town’s cold reception spirals into threats and danger, proving that there are those who will stop at nothing to keep the past hidden forever –because secrets never die.

Purchase Secrets Never Die Now!

About the Author

Laurie LewisLaurie (L.C.) Lewis knows that wherever life takes her, she will always be a Marylander at heart–a weather-whining lover of crabs, American history, and the sea. She admits to being craft-challenged, particularly lethal with a glue gun, and a devotee of sappy movies. Therapists have been chasing her down to diagnose her multiple personality syndrome, since she writes under three names–historical fiction as L.C. Lewis, romance and women’s fiction as Laurie Lewis, and general fiction as Laurie L.C. Lewis. Laurie was honored to win the 2017 RONE Award for Inspirational Romance. She also has been an IndieBRAG Medallion Honoree, and a New Apple Literary Medallion winner. She has twice been named a Whitney Awards finalist, and a USA Best Books Award finalist.

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AlzAuthor Eleanor Cooney Reveals a Cautionary Tale of Alzheimer’s in her Memoir “Death in Slow Motion”

Cooney CanvaBy Eleanor Cooney

In the third grade, I was kicked out of show-and-tell for three weeks. I told a story that the teacher, Mrs. Fitz, had specifically asked me not to tell. She knew about it because she heard me blabbing a preview to some of the other kids early that morning. “I don’t think that’s the sort of story to share with the class,” she’d said, shocked.

Mrs. Fitz was a gentle soul, and we loved each other, but my story upset her. She didn’t want me to tell it, and I hardly blame her. It was pretty terrible. Roaming around the woods and river near my house in Connecticut, I’d spotted something snagged in the shallow water: a burlap bag. I dragged it ashore, opened it, and found a drowned dog. I remember what it looked like: A brown-and-white Bassett hound. Even though Mrs. Fitz was shaking her head sadly in the back of the room as I stood in the front and she saw that I was about to spill it, I went ahead anyway. I had to. It’s not that I wasn’t sad for the dog. I was, and still am. But I just had to tell that story.

slowmotionI know that some will find the story I tell in my book Death in Slow Motion shocking and terrible, and they’ll think I shouldn’t have told it. When my mother came down with Alzheimer’s and I undertook (in vain) to save her, a calm dispassionate voice, quite separate from the desperate babble of other voices in my head, whispered: Here’s your next book.

This is not to say my motivations were identical to those of that headline-grabbing eight-year-old. But I still know a good story when it comes along. In this case, though, I wouldn’t be telling the dreadful truth for its mere gratuitous shock value; the subject matter begged for a brutally frank telling, something as pitiless and unladylike as the disease itself. I was, by that time, a seasoned, published novelist, figured I had the “chops” to do the job. My writerly sensibilities tend toward the “noir” anyway, and you can’t get much more “noir” than Alzheimer’s. It was a match.

I started with an article, published in Harper’s magazine. Serendipity led me to an editor at HarperCollins, who said: “I don’t want the book to be just a longer version of the article. I want background and character development. I want to know who your mother was, who you are.”

The possibilities were tantalizing: My mother was a writer, and I’m a writer exactly because she was a writer. We lived in a town right out of Cheever. She’d had three husbands and plenty of lovers. Even without Alzheimer’s shuffling onto the stage, her life, the life my brother and I had because of her, would have been the stuff of literary memoir or a roman à clef. The illness added a classic dimension of tragedy to the story, but it was not the whole story. This is not a “help” or a “how to” book, nor even really an “Alzheimer’s” book, though there’s plenty to be learned about the disease, and about failure, including what I learned the hard, hard way. It’s a cautionary tale, and it’s also the story of a woman, my mother, a superb writer, anything but ordinary, brilliant, beautiful, and sometimes dangerous. I wrote it the way I did because of the writer she was. I wanted to bring her to life so that the reader will know, really know, what’s been lost.

About the Author


Eleanor Cooney is the author of the T’ang Trilogy, historical novels set in 7th- and 8th-century China. This September, her nonfiction memoir, written for Frank Gregory Ford, Midnight in Samarra (Skyhorse, NYC), will be released, the searing account of an intelligence agent and medic who went into Iraq in the ’03 invasion and witnessed high crimes and misdemeanors on the part of his countrymen. She’s completing a new novel, a literary thriller set in the 19th and 21st centuries in Wisconsin, plus a collection of essays, No Country for Old Women. Her work has been published in Harper’s magazine and Mother Jones magazine. She lives in coastal northern California.

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The Tang Trilogy
Facebook/TangTrilogy

The links below are for her long essay “No Country for Old Women,” a new “final chapter” to Death in Slow Motion. The editor divided it into four parts because of its length. They should, of course, be read all together, as one piece. They’re in order here:
https://www.theava.com/archives/84373
https://www.theava.com/archives/84659
https://www.theava.com/archives/84904
https://www.theava.com/archives/85174

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For more vetted books about Alzheimer’s and dementia please visit the AlzAuthors Bookstore. Reposted with permission from AlzAuthors.

New Release Spotlight: “Mermaid’s Song” and “Mermaid’s Heart,” Paranormal Academy Romances from Stacy Claflin

new release spotlight

Stacy Claflin is at it again with a new series and two books already out there.

Book One: Mermaid’s Song

Mermaids Song

I live a double life—and it’s about to tangle me in its net.

I’m Marra Ayers, a mermaid pretending to be human. Or at least, I was. It’s over now that my uncle died, making my dad the new king of Valora. My parents are dragging me away from the life I love to our undersea kingdom. And to make matters worse, everybody hates us.

My parents send me straight to the Dark Sea Academy, where the building is creepy and the students are worse. The dean pairs me with a student to show me the ropes.

I get stuck with Bash, who’s one wrong move from being expelled, and showing me around is his latest punishment. He’s as gorgeous as he is arrogant. And an incredible guitarist, as it turns out. Not that it matters. We can’t stand each other, and when my orientation is over, we’ll go our separate ways. Good riddance.

Whispers and glares greet me at every turn, and the most popular girl has it out for me. My first night, she tries to kill me. Then, bloodied and bruised, I run into Bash. And this time, he actually seems to care…

He keeps looking at me with concern in his eyes while giving me this crooked smirk. Kind of makes me forget how irritating he is. Almost makes me forget all my problems.

But I can’t let myself get side-tracked by him. I won’t.

If I’m to survive the academy, I need to focus on staying alive. Unfortunately, that means relying on Bash—and he’s a distraction that could very well cost me everything.

Purchase Mermaid’s Song Now

Book Two: Mermaid’s Heart

Note: This is the second part of the Dark Sea Academy trilogy, and if you haven’t read Mermaid’s Song, you’ll want to do that first. The following description contains spoilers for the first book. 

Mermaids Heart
What’s the point of being a princess if the whole kingdom hates you?

Being a royal should make my life easier, but it only compounds my problems. When my father, the new King of Valora, succeeded the beloved King Tiberius, many of his subjects believed he killed my uncle just to gain the throne. His new policies only make the people hate him more.

Just my luck, they transfer their loathing onto me.

Even my best friend and my boyfriend aren’t enough of a buffer, and I’m continually fending off verbal, and sometimes physical, attacks.

That’s when my powers start growing…

When no one at the academy can—or will—help me learn about my new abilities, I begin to research them on my own. Modern answers seem to be entwined with a terrifying ancient legend.

If the lore is true, my destiny is far more tragic than my present problems. And I don’t know if I can change it.

Or if I should even try.

Purchase Mermaid’s Heart Now

About the Author

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I’m Stacy Claflin, a two-time USA Today bestselling author who has published sixty books at the time of this writing. I’ve always been an avid reader and a writer. When I was a teenager, I was always in the middle of reading at least five books at a time. Not only could I keep up with each storyline, but I also never needed a bookmark! These days, I’m lucky to remember why I went into the kitchen. There’s more to me than writing and reading. I’m the mom of two smart and hilarious boys that I educate from home. I love hiking and being active outdoors. There isn’t anything better than spending time with family and friends! I also enjoy watching a wide range of shows, such as SupernaturalReignThe Walking Dead, HavenPretty Little LiarsStranger ThingsDexterDesignated Survivor, and Glitch. I’m also obsessed with true crime podcasts and taking online courses to improve my writing craft.

I’m a thyroid cancer survivor. I’ve been cancer free since 2008. Get your thyroid checked!

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