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Early in her 70’s, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She lived with the disease for over 10 years and died in 2012. As many of you may know, this is a tough illness for everyone – for kids, grandchildren, friends, healthcare workers, and anyone associated with the person living with the illness.
My two sons – Ben and Alex – spent a lot of their young years visiting their Nanny Mac in long-term care in beautiful Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia. Many days were difficult but we came out of the experience with a newfound sense of compassion and understanding. So many of those days were beautiful – sitting on the outside swing at High Crest or singing songs in the unit. Each experience helped my boys grow into the compassionate young men they are today.
So – this is our story. In 2012, on the way home from a visit to High Crest Home for Special Care, we talked about how hard it is for kids to understand the illness. At the time my sons were 10 and 7. In the car, we used a piece of paper towel and wrote down some ideas. When we got home, we went over them and added more. The draft was carried everywhere with me and every once in a while, we revisited it. With the help of friends and writing agents, and local publishers, we finally finished the draft and found the perfect illustrator – Meaghan Smith.
It is our hope that this book will guide families and children to a better understanding of Alzheimer’s. And that along with grief, there is always hope and it will be ok