I recently read an e-book by Linda Brendle called A Long and Winding Road. It will be released July 1st, and I got a sneak peek because I'm going to be interviewing Linda as part of her book promotion. I have to say, I loved this "diary" of sorts. It's Linda's accounting of the cross-country RV trip she took with her husband and her aging parents, both of whom have dementia.
As a caretaker myself, I thought, is this woman nuts? Turns out, she's just really adventuresome and brave and committed to helping her folks. And honest. She writes about their daily outings/struggles in an unvarnished, down-to-earth style that had me nodding and chuckling and tearing up in a few places.
Caretaking is a wild ride, even in the calmest of circumstances. My folks are 93 and 91. They live a mile away, and I see/help them every day. It can be exhausting, heart-breaking, lovely, and hilarious. All in one day. And we don't travel anywhere but to doctors' offices.
Linda and her husband David do their best to accommodate the quirks that accompany aging brains. Sometimes Linda's folks know where they are; sometimes they don't. Sometimes they are fine with taking a shower; sometimes not. Linda writes about trying to keep her sometimes persnickety Mom happy, and how she finally reconciled that it was not possible. There are frustrating days and heart-warming days. She affectionately calls her parents "The Kids." Linda also shares her struggles with co-dependency, and finding love after divorce.
If you are in any way helping an aging family member, you will enjoy this book. Caretaking is an emotional roller-coaster, and Linda covers the spectrum of ups and downs. She also includes flashbacks to her younger days, when Dad and Mom were more vibrant versions of their currently, fading selves.
The aging process is the great equalizer. Outside of an early death, we all will, at some point, lose our independence, our agility, our acumen. We need to become familiar with what that looks like, and how we can love and support the elderly in our lives now. Linda does a fine job of explaining the gritty and the tedious and the sacrificial love that is experienced when caring for an aging parent. She turns to God often for guidance and strength, which spoke to my heart, because I must daily do the same thing.
A Long and Winding Road is being published by Anaiah Press, a Christan (digital first, print copy following electronic format) publishing house. You can check out their site here: ANAIAH PRESS.
Linda's website: LIFE AFTER CAREGIVING