Want to read more? Visit Mary's related blogs for deeper insights on Alzheimer's disease, family, health and more.
The Alzheimer’s Spouse: Finding the Grace to Keep the Promise
Everyone surrounding a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease struggles. But caring for a spouse is unique in that the couple is tied to each other on every level: financial, psychological, emotional, sexual, the choice of where we make our home, the turns we take in our careers, the hopes we have for the future, and the tears we have shed together. Once Alzheimer’s intrudes into a marriage, we find ourselves joined to someone who can no longer fully participate in that relationship.
Our spouse’s declining health results in a continuous and predictable stream of losses for both of us. As the spouse of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, we are suspended in a perpetual state of grief and mourning. We recover from one dramatic change only to encounter the next, helplessly watching the steady devastation of our life-partner.
The Alzheimer’s Spouse. Finding the Grace to Keep the Promise is certainly not an “enjoyable” read but a valuable one on multiple levels. It offers understanding, practical guidance, credible data, and honest stories from Mary K. Doyle’s experience. It also offers validation in that we are living out our vows to the extreme as we care for spouses unable to care for themselves. We are giving of ourselves, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, in the best way we can, as we find the grace to keep the promise.
2020 Award Winner, Catholic Press Association (CPA)
B12: Marriage and Family Living. First Place.
This is a small and very powerful book about marriage, commitment, love, devastating illness, and grace. Mary K. Doyle's book provides knowledge above a disease more common than I ever realized. She states: "as the person with Alzheimer's life becomes smaller, so does ours. Few survive the journey intact, unbruised and undiminished." Mary Doyle offers a profound perspective of what the marriage promise "in sickness and in health" means. She provides insights and practical advice from her depth of experience in caring for her husband both at home until she could no longer do it, needing to place him in a memory care facility. While the book chronicles her experience with Alzheimer's, and its destructive character, some of it is applicable to a spouse caring for his or her spouse in the process of dying from a prolonged debilitating illness. I learned so much about the awful illness of Alzheimer's, but mostly I saw the depth of love and grace and blessings that come from a Christian marriage.