Robin is a visiting speaking and friend of ours here at STG. His latest book is a personal account of what it was like after his late wife, Shoko, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2012. There is much practical wisdom in the book for those going through similar struggles, but their story also touches on some of the big themes that we all grapple with; love, suffering, identity, and hope.
We asked Robin…
What made you want to share your story with the rest of us?
“When my wife, Shoko, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2012, we had no clue what lay ahead. Later, when the disease really began to bite, we learned the hard way, as Shoko’s personality changed and she lost her capacity in many areas of life. Everybody’s experience of dementia is different. But there are common themes and I thought our story might be helpful to others facing similar experiences – the same pain and pressures, as well as the hope and resources.”
What did you find most difficult about writing this book?
“I wanted to share our story as openly and honestly as possible. I needed to remember and describe actual incidents and conversations as graphically as I could. My family told me that I needed to express my emotions and feelings, which I tried to do. It’s quite difficult to convey the sense of bewilderment and sometimes hopelessness that you can feel, as well as the real joys and hopes.”
Why do you call it ‘A Love Story’?
“I experienced Shoko’s love for me, even when her understanding was becoming more and more confused. And I learned that our response to those living with Alzheimer’s or any kind of dementia, is grounded in love. Alzheimer’s can be fearsome and mysterious, but we don’t need to be afraid. We just go on relating with love, attention and warmth.”
Living with Alzheimer’s: A Love Story is a well written, heart-warming account and is published by Instant Apostle, 2020, £8.99.