Our mother has always been the most generous, loving person imaginable. When budgets were tight, she would create magic from a few pounds of flour and sugar, or with crayons, poster paint, and aluminum foil. Everyone who met her loved her.
She cared for our father through prolonged health crises, and her grief at his passing was ongoing and nearly corporeal. She adored children. All children. And though she raised us with a strict hand, she relaxed her rules and opened her doors for any troubled, displaced youth that passed her farm. And then things began to get complicated. Some of us passed it off as depression over Dad's passing, but those living closest to her reported observations that were completely out of character for her, and family members felt the stress.
A neurologist finally made gave us a diagnosis which was overwhelming at first, but it explained so many oddities and problems that had been cropping up in our family--confusion about family members, uncharacteristic money problems, Mom's increased anxiety and erratic mood swings, and almost constant stomach ailments.
Bit-by-bit, the knotted tales untangled. Mom was mixing the past, the present, and her dreams together as if they were all current events. These issues, and her inability to understand the changes in her mind and perception ratcheted her anxiety to levels we had never before seen.
We launched a variety of plans to keep Mom on her beloved farm, and we contacted every agency we could find. What few services Mom might have qualified for were denied us, because when workers came to evaluate her, Mom would be so delightful and charming that they would declared her nopt in need of assistance.
At some point, we came together as a family and made a plan. All during these months and years, "The Dragons of Alsace Farm," took shape as more and more people contacted me, sharing their stories. The dragon Agnes faces in the book is dementia. Her dragon impacts everyone who loves her, even as they battle their own secret dragons,
It has been a learning experience, one I felt others could benefit from. So I interviewed doctors, therapists, caregivers, and friends facing this diagnosis with their own loved ones, and a story was born. It is a great honor and delight to finally announce that this love project is now up on Amazon.