What is it like to feel you are an island without escape? An island where the view is only that of your brilliant mate’s life fading away with each passing day? It’s not that often that I read a library book and want to immediately order copies for friends and start looking into an author’s other titles minutes after the last page has been read—this is just such a book.
Toth’s husband James has Parkinson’s and she has watched the disease take over her husband’s life up close and personal like a thousand paper cuts. He was a lauded architect and active community member, they had a very successful marriage and a loving relationship always, then she was thrust into that position so many women find themselves in from wife to full-time caregiver. She is extremely candid about the hardships and frustrations to cope with one’s own energy and spirit amid the letting go of a mate you love and want to care for but the demands are relentless. The isolation is palpable. She describes the dreaded task of filling the med sets, a more complex one for her husband but also one for herself and the time it takes to get them both correctly allocated.
No Saints Around Here is a powerful read and may serve you or someone you love to know they are not alone.
“A moment-by-moment memoir of the difficulty and dedication of caregiving
As her husband James’s Parkinson’s disease with eventual dementia began to progress, writer Susan Allen Toth decides she intensely wants to keep him at home until the end. Wrenching, occasionally peevish, at times darkly funny, and always deeply felt, Toth’s intimate, unsparing memoir reflects the realities of seeing a loved one out of life.
While some readers may find the title of Susan Allen Toth’s No Saints around Here unintentionally ironic, it came to seem no more than apt to me. Halfway through the book, I was wondering how many saints could have matched her devotion in the care she gave to her husband or achieved the honesty, humor, and vividness of her moving account.”