My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Alzheimer's and dementia show up in our congregations, academic institutions, corporations and families. According to a recent Science Daily report and others (dated 7 December 2017), it is going to increase from 6 million people in 2017 to some 15 million in 2060. This report, coupled with experiences in my church and in my family, causes me to be on the look out for helpful material that can support caregivers. Therefore I was delighted to pick up and read a new work penned by Douglas Groothuis, professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary and accomplished author. "Walking Through Twilight: A Wife's Illness--A Philosopher's Lament" is a 176 page paperback written from the personal and reflective perspective of the caregiver.
"Walking Through Twilight" mildly chronicles the eerie, "odd and mystifying unraveling of" (26) the author's wife who has primary progressive aphasia (PPA). In some places it is raw with emotion. In others it is thoughtful and biblically expressive. There autobiographical sections and deliberative installments that run through numerous pages. The frustration, fury, and fatigue come out instructively, giving the reader insights and insider information. Groothuis is handing us clues on how to serve those in this situation because, as he observes, "we are all chaplains in the hospice of life" (60).
When I began to read "Walking Through Twilight" I was certain I'd be brought to tears. Rather I was brought to ponder how I have not always been as helpful as I could have been to those in this situation and their caregivers, and how to do it better. By working through these pages, I have been aided in supporting others "to live well with suffering in light of reality in God's world" and to oppose the twin heresies of optimism and pessimism with hope (53).
Overall, "Walking Through Twilight" is a valuable volume for ministers, elders, Christians, spouses and caregivers. It will enlighten some, encourage others, and challenge most. If Alzheimer's or dementia have shown their unnerving hand in your church or family, this tiny book is a must. And since it's increasing prevalence is forecast, it would be a worthwhile read even is neither have shown up yet. I highly recommend the book.
Thanks to InterVarsity Press for providing, upon my request, the free copy of the book used for this review. The assessments are mine given without restrictions or requirements (as per Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255).
(You can purchase a copy of the book here: "Walking Through Twilight")
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