From the AlzAuthors Blog: Meet Vanessa Williams-Harvey, and “I Remember”

Harvey, Vanessa

by Vanessa Williams-Harvey

It took years of silence for me to come to terms and let it all out.  Everything came to an abrupt halt in August of 2015.  On that painful and dark day, our mother was ultimately placed in a nursing facility.  We continue to struggle with that painful decision.  My personal guilt, frustrations and regret plagued my soul to the point of endless days and restless nights.  I was able to find relief when I pulled out my tablet and began to jot down everything that had been swirling around in my head.

I started writing about the good times; there were a few. The more I wrote, the more I relaxed and I could finally exhale. I used words to breathe life into the dark reality I suppressed for far too long, finding a voice in writing that I wasn’t quite comfortable with verbalizing. I felt incapable of being accountable to myself, let alone anyone else.

I Remember Mockup“I Remember” is a candid and brutally honest glimpse of what my family and I experienced on our journey with Alzheimer’s.  My writing is a deep dive with frank details about some tough and challenging times, as we struggled to communicate and collaborate with one another.  It took a lot of time for me to realize that I wasn’t the only one hurting. The very same pain that was ripping at my heart and head was also wreaking havoc on each and every member of our family in a very distinctive way. Continue reading

Christmas is for Making Memories

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The tree is lit and laden with treasured ornaments. The cookies are baked, their delicious aroma wafting through the house. The gifts are wrapped and ribboned. It’s beginning to look a lot like –

Uh, sorry, but no. At least, not yet. Perhaps by the time you read this I will have everything under control. It seems there are a million things to do, tiny but important details to take care of in preparation for the Big Day, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. It was so much simpler when we were children, wasn’t it?

When I look back upon my childhood I tend to focus on what was best. I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in Brockton, Massachusetts, specifically Campello. My father was a cabinet maker and my mother was a data entry operator. I am the eldest of their four children. Christmas was important to us because we were Catholics and my parents raised us in the faith. Each year they made sure to give us a memorable holiday, and my recollections of these special times taught me how to create memorable holidays for my own child. Our Christmas memories are a reflection of our past and a blueprint for our future.

I remember Christmas as a magical time, full of wonder and delight, dreams and wishes. My parents did everything for us, and made sure we had all the fixings of the holiday: the fresh-cut pine tree glittering with lights, tinsel and garland, surrounded by piles of gifts wrapped in shiny paper and bedecked with pretty bows, a feast of roast turkey or ham with all the accompaniments, lasagna, meatballs, and desserts to last a week.

Each holiday was special, filled with love and laughter, the door open to friends and family who shared the holiday with us. We made memories, fuel for the future for when we grew up and spread apart due to marriage and jobs. These memories also helped to buffer the loss of too many of our loved ones who departed this world, including my precious dad. So many of these memories warm my heart, and bring my family closer to me in spirit. I’ll share a few. Continue reading

Christmas Books All Month Long! Day 18: “One Winter Night”

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It’s the Christmas season! One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is to curl up with a Christmas-themed book, a steaming cup of tea, and a seat. I can’t send you tea and cookies, but I can send you some great book suggestions. Throughout the month I’ll be featuring DOZENS of books. Load that Kindle! It’s going to be a long winter!

Today’s featured book is One Winter Night by Heather Tullis. This selection comes from the lovely ladies at Lovin’ The Book’s Christmas Countdown. Don’t miss the giveaway at the end! I’ll be hosting this Christmas Countdown through December 23rd, followed by my Twelve Days of Christmas Book Blast starting December 26th through January 6th.

One winter night

About the Book: Jonah Owens thought moving to Echo Ridge to open his art gallery would solve all of his problems. The need to sell his grandma’s house adds an unexpected complication. It would be easier if his neighbor didn’t have all those farm animals.

Kaya Feidler’s family has owned their land for nearly a hundred years–long before the neighbors were there. There’s no way she’s giving up the animal therapy business she’s been struggling to make profitable. She gets a temp job helping Jonah in the gallery.

Spending time together is a recipe for romance, but can they overcome their own hangups to be more than friends?

Universal Amazon Link ~  Continue reading

Christmas Books All Month Long! Day 17: “The Billionaire’s Blue Christmas”

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It’s the Christmas season! One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is to curl up with a Christmas-themed book, a steaming cup of tea, and a seat. I can’t send you tea and cookies, but I can send you some great book suggestions. Throughout the month I’ll be featuring DOZENS of books. Load that Kindle! It’s going to be a long winter!

Today’s featured title is The Billionaire’s Blue Christmas by Jennifer Griffith. This selection comes from the lovely ladies at Lovin’ The Book’s Christmas Countdown. Don’t miss the giveaway at the end! I’ll be hosting this Christmas Countdown through December 23rd, followed by my Twelve Days of Christmas Book Blast starting December 26th through January 6th.

Billionaire

About the Book:

He needs this job to honor his late wife.  

She needs to complete her late fiancé’s bucket list to be free.

Former action-movie star Chet has counted the days since he lost his wife last New Year’s Eve almost a year ago. When he’s given a shot at starring in a reboot of her favorite TV show, he jumps at it. But there’s a catch: the producers won’t hire him unless he can prove he’s regained emotional stability—by bringing a steady girlfriend to his five auditions. Which means: five mandatory dates for this bereft widower.

Social worker Holly lost her fiancé to war. With his good life snuffed out too soon, she feels compelled to finish his bucket list of unselfish deeds. But four years later, several remain, and they’re ridiculously impossible. Until she accomplishes her soldier’s dreams, she can’t even consider moving on with her life.

When they meet on the beach at Getaway Bay, what she doesn’t know is homeless-looking mourner Chet is actually Colt Winchester, screen star and fashion icon. What he doesn’t know is that he’s a means to an end.

When their walls start to crumble on their Christmas season dates, can these two find love again, or will they forever be chasing ghosts?”

Universal Amazon Link ~  Continue reading

Christmas Books All Month Long! Day 16: “Jacob T. Marley”

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It’s the Christmas season! One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is to curl up with a Christmas-themed book, a steaming cup of tea, and a seat. I can’t send you tea and cookies, but I can send you some great book suggestions. Throughout the month I’ll be featuring DOZENS of books. Load that Kindle! It’s going to be a long winter!

Today’s featured title is Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett. This selection comes from the lovely ladies at Lovin’ The Book’s Christmas Countdown. Don’t miss the giveaway at the end! I’ll be hosting this Christmas Countdown through December 23rd, followed by my Twelve Days of Christmas Book Blast starting December 26th through January 6th.

Marley

About the Book: “Marley was dead to begin with . . . ”

These chillingly familiar words begin the classic Christmas tale of remorse and redemption in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. But, what about Jacob Marley? And why hadn’t he been given the same final chance of redemption as Ebenezer Scrooge?

Or had he?

~ Universal Amazon Link ~

Purchase on Audible Continue reading

Christmas Books All Month Long! Day 15: “Christmas Kisses”

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It’s the Christmas season! One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is to curl up with a Christmas-themed book, a steaming cup of tea, and a seat. I can’t send you tea and cookies, but I can send you some great book suggestions. Throughout the month I’ll be featuring DOZENS of books. Load that Kindle! It’s going to be a long winter!

Today we have Christmas Kisses by  Stacy Lynn Carroll, Tara C. Allred, Stephanie Connelley Worlton, and Ali M. Cross. This selection comes from the lovely ladies at Lovin’ The Book’s Christmas Countdown. Don’t miss the giveaway at the end! I’ll be hosting this Christmas Countdown through December 23rd, followed by my Twelve Days of Christmas Book Blast starting December 26th through January 6th.

Christmas Kisses

About the Book:  Are you ready to fall in love? Take the chill out of winter with four new multi-genre romances from best-selling and award-winning authors Tara C. Allred, Stacy Lynn Carroll, Ali M. Cross, and Stephanie Connelley Worlton. From heart-warming traditions to heart-pounding suspense, this cozy collection of toe-tingling first kisses set in Utah’s North Pole (aka Bear Lake) will leave you feeling cheerful and bright.

Universal Amazon Link ~ 
  Continue reading

From the AlzAuthors Blog: Meet Tracey Lawrence and “Dementia Sucks – A Caregiver’s Journey with Lessons Learned”

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By Tracey S. Lawrence

Dementia SucksOnce upon a time, I was a self-employed graphic arts professional. I designed stuff. I helped clients with their marketing and printing problems. My parents were living it up in southern Florida, and I believed in the Myth of Retirement:

  • Stop working
  • Spend money like you’re drunk
  • Spoil your kids and grandkids
  • Do all the stuff you always dreamed of
  • Eventually, gently, die in your bed at home
  • Cherubs lead you to heaven’s gate
  • Cue heavenly choir

In 2003, I learned about the harsh Reality of Post-Retirement. I went to visit my parents in Florida and realized Dad had been covering up his illnesses. He had a lot of issues. He was 75. My mother, who was 74, was very dependent on him.

After a test gone wrong, my father’s short term memory evaporated, and following many misdiagnoses, I realized he had vascular dementia. He knew it, too, and did not want to live that way. My brother and I supported his wish to avoid prolonging his life. My father died in July 2004 at the age of 76. Continue reading