Walking with Fay: My Mother's Uncharted Path into Dementia (Paperback)
In 2012, Carolyn Birrell flew down to Georgia to kidnap her mother.
Fay had been living by herself since her husband's death in 2000 and clung fiercely to her independence. She went to church on Sundays, paid her bills on time, and volunteered at Vacation Bible School every summer. But at 79 years old, she'd begun showing escalating signs of early-stage dementia, each one making it harder for her daughter to discount as simple signs of aging.
After receiving calls from Fay's local sheriff and the Department of Family Services, Carolyn took action. She quickly came to understand the meaning of the adage, "When we make plans the Universe laughs," because hers required endless do-overs as she struggled to keep pace with her mother's ever-progressing disease.
This is the story of Carolyn's mother, her dementia, and how they navigated her journey together. Your loved one may not force feed stuffed animals vanilla pudding or burn their neighbor's mail like Fay did, but if you're living through the sad realities of your loved one's slow and tortuous farewell, this book will help you find solace as you deal with it realistically and with a heart at peace.
A brave and honest glimpse into a journey of dementia, with acknowledgement of lessons learned from one human being providing care for another. - Teepa Snow, Founder of A Positive Approach to Care(R)
Somehow, Carolyn has managed to take the heartbreaking topic of dementia and turn it into a helpful, uplifting book that not only leaves the reader feeling more "normal," but also encourages them to continue down the harrowing path they're on. I couldn't put this one down. - Dr. Marty Becker, "America's Veterinarian," Author of 23 books (three New York Times bestsellers) and nationally syndicated columnist
"Carolyn's vividly told story about caring for her mother through the stages of dementia shows us we're not alone in our frustration, exhaustion, love, fear, and regret. Her book is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, as caregiving often is. Especially helpful is the Afterword, which distills years of hard-won lessons into real-life examples of how to better respond to the everyday situations that often cause conflict." - Connie Chow, Founder at DailyCaring.com
A masterpiece in the human condition. Carolyn's ability to articulate the full spectrum of human emotion and frailty was thoroughly moving. Her transparency transported me into her life and pain in a way that is unforgettable. I highly recommend this gem of a book for anyone and plan to use it as a resource for my clients." - Cynthia Citron, MBA, LMHC, BCN, Owner, Reboot: Personal Breakthroughs Using Brain Science
"This deeply touching memoir offers a wealth of insight and practical tips for anyone dealing with a loved one's dementia. Carolyn's candid recounting of her journey with her mother injects humor into the heartbreak, adding a vital tool to every caregiver's coping toolbox - permission to admit their conflicting feelings without guilt. A must-read for everyone, even those not currently on this difficult path." --Willow Feller, Author of Piety, Pride and a Cosy of Cures