Title: What Al Left Behind
Author: Daphne Simpkins
Publisher: Quotidian Books
“Love carries you along. Fear keeps you company, too. You are not only afraid that your patient’s mind will slip some more, you are also afraid that you are running out of energy, stamina, love. Al makes you wonder if you can live long enough to finish the job of caregiving,” Daphne Simpkins writes in her book, What Al Left Behind: A Changed Perspective about Alzheimer’s, Aging and Caregiving.
This one hundred and twenty-two page paperback targets caregivers or loved ones dealing with taking care of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Mentioning Christian beliefs along with some quoted slang words, the topic of disease, dementia, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.
The full-time novelist from the South has written several published essays, short stories, and books. Being a part-time university teacher in Alabama, this collection focuses on her being a caregiver for her dear father who had Alzheimer’s.
Beginning with no table of contents but a greeting, fourteen chapters discuss the process of dealing with a loved one with memory issues as they transition from life to death. The ending of the book includes the author’s biography, acknowledgments, and advertisements of other books written. Each chapter contains a characteristic noticed before and after the disease progressed, a personal story titled “What Daddy Did,” and several pages of discussion.
Calling the overwhelming and pervasive disease Al for short, Simpkins takes the reader through the journey of cherishing the loved one while trying to maintain support and dignity. Although the caregiver suffers as much emotionally and physically, learning to hold on to the precious memories become a blessing.
As the illness rages, viewpoints concentrate on home, handholding, senior moments, confabulation, human dignity, can-do attitude, reputation, carpe diem, achievement, decision, trespasses, trouble, weakness, and being a caregiver.
Although the book has the author’s personal experience weaved within the pages, she does not overstate the boundaries, concentrating on common every-day challenges the caregiver faces as he or she understands acceptance and love while dealing with grief. Mentioning God for strength and comfort, each chapter divulges the internal conflict of handling the disease.
By allowing caregivers to realize they cannot solve all the problems handling their loved ones’ sickness, they must learn to wait while being at a loss for what to do next. As life’s puzzles fluctuate, change, and shift, the presence of Al is feared yet embraced. This book may bring comfort and companionship to those facing the heart-wrenching and heroic task of taking care of the dying.
Thanks to Bookpleasures and the author for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.