Barbara describes the meaning of the title of her book by telling how she and Phil were swept backward under a bridge and into the Mississippi River after their boat’s engine stalled several years ago. The experience of losing control left her grateful that the event wasn’t catastrophic, and the event later became a metaphor for what living with Alzheimer’s Disease became for her and her family.
She felt compelled to write her family’s story, not only for herself and her family, but also to help others going through their own experiences with Alzheimer’s Disease. After Phil died, she needed to pick up the pieces and “hold them in her heart and put them into an integrative whole.” Her book was a cathartic way to tell her story honestly and also authentically affirm experiences of other caregivers. Although each person’s story is different, the sense of loss and being out of control are consistent for anyone who lives with a loved one with dementia.