When a Parent’s Changing Life Upends Yours
Mom’s Gone Missing is not a how-to book. It’s a here’s-what-unfolded book, a story of a daughter’s experience with a father’s decade-long Alzheimer’s journey and a mother’s lightning fast dementia decline and both of their deaths.
The narrative includes sibling tensions, a bewildering array of healthcare, financial and legal decisions, reconciliation of lifelong hurts, and the emotional tsunami that surges through all.
This book takes you inside a family’s experience and walks you through the practical and sometimes mundane steps taken to prepare for and ultimately accompany parents in death. It invites you in, encourages you to find familiar thoughts and emotions, and provides compassion for your worst moments, your rawest reactions, and your urge to laugh in sometimes inopportune moments.
It is a true story of a thoughtful writer’s journey with her parents, written with clarity, honesty, and vulnerability. Its ultimate wish is to create a community within which to share stories and offer support. You, in whatever stage of angst or pain, are welcome here.
Book Club Discussion Questions
- What was your overall reaction to the book?
- What surprised you most about the book?
- How did the book impact you? Any passages that particularly affected you?
- Did the book remind you of something you haven’t thought about in a while?
- What did you learn from this book? What aspects of the story can you relate to?
- Did you find the author’s story compelling?
- Are there any parts of the book you wish the author would have elaborated upon further?
- What do you think of the author’s writing style?
- What do you think of the book’s title?
- What was your favorite quote or passage of the book?
- What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book? What ideas was she trying to get across?
- How did the characters change throughout the story? How did your opinion of them change?
- If you could talk to the author, what would you say or questions would you ask?
- Did the book change your opinion or perspective about anything? Do you feel different now than you did before you read it?
- Is there something in your life that you would like to do over as a result of reading this book?
- Who in your world needs to know you are there for them?
- If the book were being adapted into a movie, who would you want to see play what parts?
Forward by: Former Governor of Wisconsin, Martin J. Schreiber and author of My Two Elaines.
Alzheimer’s disease creeps slowly into a person’s life but never retreats. Eventually, the individual’s memory fails in too many important areas, and someone must keep watch. Round-the-clock care is needed, and that invariably falls to the one who cares most—one’s partner.
Former governor of Wisconsin Marty Schreiber has seen his beloved wife, Elaine, gradually transform from the woman who had gracefully entertained in the Executive Residence to one who sometimes no longer recognizes him as her husband.
In My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver, Marty candidly counsels those taking on this caregiving role. More than an account of Marty’s struggles in caring for his wife, My Two Elaines also offers sage advice that respects the one with Alzheimer’s while maintaining the caregiver’s health. As two-thirds of those with Alzheimer’s are women, he offers special guidance for men thrust into an unexpected job. With patience, adaptability, and even a sense of humor, Marty shows how love continues for his Second Elaine.
Cover Art: Anna Leigh Biedenbender
Anna Leigh Biedenbender is a visual artist and classically trained soprano based in the Twin Cities. She holds an MFA in visual art, with an emphasis in painting and drawing, from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD, ’16). She was one of 12 Minnesota artists invited to the Studio:HERE artist-residency program at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair, and her most recent solo exhibitions were at Modus Locus Gallery (Minneapolis) and the Owatonna Arts Center. She sings with the Twin Cities’ Magnum Chorum and in her studio as she paints.