The Other Side of Alzheimer’s
By Marietta A. Harris
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 3 stars
When someone becomes a caregiver, one’s life takes a new direction. Thrust into a role by circumstances, we act out of love, but one tends not to fully comprehend the full impact on oneself with the focus on the day-to-day needs of those needing the care. As the person’s health deteriorates, so, too, does the life of the caregiver.
Harris tells first of Angie’s family life growing up, giving readers an introduction into the love with which she was raised. She writes in a conversational tone, simply and direct, showing the sacrifices and unconditional love that a caregiver shares. She tells of how Alzheimer’s had her mother slowly begin to disappear, as well as of the loss of her father and brother.
“I know how you feel,” said albeit with good intentions to comfort her after her mother’s death, upset her because no one knows the unique experience between two people, making each person’s survival through grief unique. We each experience our own grief in our own way, with caregivers feeling not only loss after death, but also the new presence of all the time previously devoted to someone else who now is no longer suffering, as they must now learn to redefine a radically changed life going forward. There is no “right” way to grieve, and no one way to survive.
This book tells one woman’s story of caregiving and grief, in the hope others will learn through shared emotions of the challenges of being a caregiver, and of the steps for one’s own survival when no longer one.