Our Lingering Farewell is a story deeply rooted in selfless devotion and the best of humanity. I am often humbled by the work we do at I C Publishing and that could not be truer partnering with a wise, experienced, and thoughtful individual such as Dr. Allan Carswell.
Bringing Helen Carswell’s twenty-year journey with Alzheimer’s disease to the pages of this poignant narrative has been an honour. Allan had three noble goals to achieve: acknowledge Helen’s beautiful, vibrant spirit and generosity throughout her entire lifetime, encourage others on this challenging path, and continue to raise awareness and actively support the Toronto Memory Program and Alzheimer Societies of Toronto and York Region.
Allan wrote Our Lingering Farewell with such honesty, grace, and compassion. Working with him has been a tremendous delight. For a small glimpse into Allan’s journey as an author I invite you to read the following written interview.
What inspired you to write this book?
For more than two decades I have been travelling a totally unexpected and challenging lifestyle as the capabilities of my wife, Helen, are being increasingly limited by the advancing effects of her Alzheimer’s disease. Although Helen now requires full-time support, we are still living comfortably at home together. In this book I have undertaken to provide an overview of our senior lives throughout this unexpected journey. My many experiences have certainly been lessons learned that I want to record. I have accepted the fact that in life there are things that you cannot change and I believe in the adage, “It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.” As a result, the insights I have gained throughout this time have afforded me an overall positive response I would like to share to encourage others.
What do you want others to gain from your book?
Although every case of Alzheimer’s disease is different, I have come to know a great deal from our experiences that could be informative to others travelling a similar journey supporting their loved ones. The life of a caregiver faces an enormous variety of unexpected and difficult circumstances. This book describes the wide range of situations that Helen and I encountered directly or while sharing our ongoing interactions with other caregivers. Throughout this time, we have benefited from the wisdom and assistance of numerous individuals and organizations well-skilled in supporting Alzheimer needs. This book identifies these groups and illustrates the outstanding value of the support they can provide.
Why did you choose the story-telling format you use?
It seemed the most appropriate way to follow the evolution of our experiences as they developed.
What was your creative process for this project?
It is largely known, academically, that the creative process can be broken down into several distinct processes such as preparation, incubation, illumination, implementation, and so on. In preparation of Our Lingering Farewell, the overall identification of a creative process is rather fuzzy. Preparation of the book was triggered by the awareness that I had been involved directly for over twenty years as an Alzheimer’s caregiver in response to Helen’s needs. Since such caregivers are increasingly in demand it was obvious that documentation of my experiences could prove useful in the future. The first stage was heavily involved with the tasks required to study and learn about Alzheimer’s. The following stages are, in fact, not well-developed separate activities but rather an ongoing mixture of my responses to the diverse array of urgent challenges needed to support Helen. My creativity when it existed, was almost exclusively reactive rather than proactive.
The Carswell story and legacy which endures through the Carswell Family Foundation has moved me greatly. Like other diseases for which we’ve yet to find a cure, Alzheimer’s shows no exception or mercy to anyone. Even in the most difficult of days and circumstances the Carswells remained as positive as possible and committed to each other and their family, living life to the fullest and helping others—an example we should all aspire to follow.
I invite you to learn more about Our Lingering Farewell here in the I C Bookstore and consider picking up a copy for yourself. Proceeds of this publication will go to the Toronto Memory Program, Alzheimer Societies of Toronto and York Region, and the Carswell Family Foundation to continue the incredibly kind and generous Carswell Family philanthropy.
In closing, a little creative inspiration for us all, there is so much wisdom in recording our life experiences and learnings. Whether in a simple journal or formally in a printed or digital book, our message has the potential to offer the reader a deeper understanding not just of our journey but that of their own as well.
Warmest thanks as always for following I C Publishing and supporting Canadian authors.
Sheri Andrunyk ©2020, Publisher, Senior Writer, Mentor, Author
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