Weston Authors: “Not Yet: An Alzheimer’s Story” – Art Shores
Last November, I received a book titled “Not Yet: An Alzheimer’s Story” in the mail with a beautiful handwritten note (how I miss old-style script!) from Arthur Shores, the author, a long-time resident of Weston. The note read, in part, “Enjoy the book about Jane’s family, our family, Alzheimer’s, and our 24/7 caregiving experience, written to raise monies to rid the world of Alzheimer’s and help so many on their journey through Alzheimer’s.” Jane turned out to be Art’s wife who passed away in 2015: the couple had lived in Weston for over 45 years.
After reading the note, I put the book aside for when I had time after the holidays–and nearly two months later, at a rainy day beach house in Brazil, I read it all. And yes, it made me smile, and there were tears too–this is a deeply personal book about a husband’s 60-year relationship with his wife–through the inevitable Alzheimer’s ending when the loved one has largely changed from the self-reliant and capable person she was, to a frightened, confused and helpless person.
The book is split into two parts with the first focused on the couple’s life story–five children, career, travel, and love. It is narrative in nature, the details perhaps relevant only to the family and friends. But it sets up the second part which is titled “The Challenging Years.” Most of us know someone with dementia or with Alzheimer’s, and. it is hard not to physically cringe or cry as the chapters move along from Early Signs to the Human Impact and Caregiving. The paragraph that echoes deeply for me is on page 67, in Early Signs:
“A short while later a distraught and most confused Jane called me to say that she was lost somewhere off the highway, but didn’t know where and didn’t know what to do. Now her memory issues were accompanied by disorientation. Telling me she was at a gas station, I asked her to find someone to talk with me that could provide me directions to their location. Soon Jane and I were together and I escorted her to the hairdresser, then home to being our 24/7 relationship.“
Moments of light follow in the six years until Jane’s death in 2015, but the days are long and difficult. The book spends the next 50 or so pages (the entire book is 130 pages) talking about how they worked through anxiety attacks, healthcare giving advice as well as giving the reader a window into the daily life of a caregiver. I am no book critic, but the spare, factual style of story-telling makes it that much more powerful.
I admit I have yet to fully “digest” the book. It is both deeply personal and spiritual as well as helpful and objective in its “lessons learned.”
All sales of the book go to Alzheimer’s Research. You can find the book on Amazon here.