Description and review of ‘Til Death or Dementia Do Us Part, a memoir by Sacramento author Marilyn Reynolds.
I have from time to time pondered the possibility of dementia as I age. Have you? An article I read recently stated dementia is the “#1 fear of the baby boomer generation” – a statement that rings true to me.
Having had given some thought to the topic, I recently strolled over to the Clunie Community Center in McKinley Park to a reading by Marilyn Reynolds from her book ‘Til Death or Dementia Do Us Part. I made a point to attend the reading as I am acquainted with Marilyn through her membership in the Sacramento Women’s Action Network (SWAN).
See related blog post: Sacramento Women’s Action Network – SWAN
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Marilyn greeted attendees as they entered the room – some of whom were obviously friends. Others had worked with or had been friends with her husband, and still others were strangers who had a personal interest in the topic.
‘Til Death or Dementia Do Us Part is a memoir detailing the relationship Marilyn had with her husband Mike – before and after his diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), one of several forms of dementia. FTD is a neurodegenerative disease affecting the regions of the brain that control personality and social behavior, reasoning, speech, language comprehension and executive functions (self-management, self-control, planning, reasoning, judgement, inhibition, etc.).
Marilyn had noticed changes in her husband Mike for several years before his diagnosis in 2009. It was then that she started writing letters to him detailing her frustration, anger, despair, hurt, guilt and a range of other emotions as his disease progressed. These letters were used to help tell her story in ‘Til Death or Dementia Do Us Part.
The story itself is heartbreaking. As his disease progressed, Marilyn’s husband had to be securely housed for his own safety, and because of behavioral issues she was told he had to move out of more than one care home.
Things might have been a bit less difficult if the downturn in the economy had not decimated their nest egg and reduced employment opportunities. The end result was bankruptcy.
Marilyn bravely provides insights into the everyday difficulties she faced – both financial and emotional until her husband’s death in 2014. Since that time Marilyn has worked hard to put a new life together for herself.
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