I’m getting close to publishing my first book, The Grapes of Dementia: A Memoir. Those who know me are aware I’ve been writing a book for quite some time. This isn’t it. Ha!
I’m still working on that book — Romeo and Juliet in Dementiaville — and it’s gonna be a while before I finish it. In case you didn’t know, y’all, writing is hard work. It’s even more difficult if you have high standards like I’m proud to say I do. And I’m certain you as a reader have those same high standards. So I’m not rushing it.
In any case, I’m publishing Grapes before the Romeo and Juliet book because I’m so darn antsy about giving the world a taste of some of the insights, gifts, and transformations that came from my experience in Dementiaville. Grapes is a shorter book, still on point, but focusing on different aspects than the Romeo and Juliet book.
Both books are about balancing loss and life with dementia, the disease that took my husband Alan nearly four years ago. During his illness, I came undone and was put back together numerous times, only to repeat the process over and over again. From time to time, help showed up along the way, and sometimes it was enough. Other times it was remarkable. I tried to be aware, present, deliberate, reflective, and conscious through all of it, to give my husband whatever he needed at the time — a hug to help heal, a nod of understanding, a hand to hold, an ear to hear, countless kisses to reinforce the deal.
Grapes is about how we rode the emotional roller coaster of this disease, sometimes with our hands up, anticipating the big drop, other times screaming as fear and terror contorted our unbelieving faces. Throughout, we met it head on. There was no choice, really. It was right there in front of us the entire time. But what was also right there in front of us was an unseen, loving presence that guided us along this mysterious road, that nudged us to open up to the mystery, coached us to seek the spiritual in all of it.
In case you haven’t pick up on it yet, The Grapes of Dementia isn’t the typical memoir about dementia. I hope to add a fresh perspective to the conversation not only of caring for a loved one, but also on how each one of us can best love anyone, everyone, and everything in our life. It’s about saying yes to all of it.
Today I sent the first version of Grapes to my beta readers for their feedback. I’ll evaluate and incorporate whichever of their suggestions makes sense, then send it off to my editor. After I make even more revisions based on my editor’s suggestions, it goes to ebook formatting. I don’t have a release date written in stone yet, but I’ll share that with you as soon as I know — probably early Autumn this year.
Meanwhile, I’ll work on the cover design and book trailer, and start marketing in earnest. I’ve never done any of this before. Even though it’s a wee bit frightening, I’m looking forward to learning, making new discoveries and connections, and bringing the elixir from my personal hero’s journey to you.