In 2003, my husband Chuck suffered an ischemic stroke followed by a diagnosis of Lewy body dementia, and I became his caregiver. His overnight transformation from an active, independent man to a disabled, cognitively impaired nursing home resident changed our lives in ways we could never have imagined.
In my memoir, Be Brave: A Wife’s Journey Through Caregiving, I invite the reader to walk in my shoes as I discovered what could be rebuilt from our past life and what had to be relinquished. At first I thought I could not bear the “long goodbye” of a dementia illness. But over the six years I took care of Chuck I learned that our love had not diminished, only segued into something different. We didn’t know where his illness would take us next, but we trusted that our love would carry us through the journey.
Before becoming a caregiver I authored numerous children’s books, nonfiction articles, short stories, and poems. I worked as a reference and young adult librarian, taught high school English, and worked for a university press. Chuck and I raised four children, and our family hosted four foreign exchange students. I am currently a volunteer radio reader and Young Adult book reviewer; and I write and edit for the Lewy Body Dementia Association and several community groups. I live on Bainbridge Island, Washington, where I enjoy photography, the New York Times crossword puzzle, hiking, reading, and following Seattle’s underdog sports teams.