Ms. MacDonald has given us an honest, raw and emotional story of a family dealing with ALS and how such a tragic situation affects all of the members of the family, not just the one with the disease.
We get a look at how each family member deals with the life changing illness.
When Colleen Gallagher travels to her daughter’s home for the birth of her second child, she also find out her son-in-law, Tony has just been diagnosed with ALS. With her daughter recovering from giving birth, a toddler to care for and now a patient to care for, Colleen’s life is about to change once again. Having been a pregnant widow with two small children to care for and then caring for her parents until their deaths, Colleen is not eager to go through such a burden, but as any parent knows, you do what you must do for your children.
She becomes Tony’s caregiver as well as the stabilizing force in the house. As Tony gets worse and tensions get high, everyone is at their worst it seems. Old hurts and resentments come to the forefront. Everyone is walking on eggshells and you can feel the tension mount.
We get to see how family handles tragedy and stress, from the youngest to the oldest, they are in the same situation but it’s how each one sees things from a different perspective that I was taken with. Fear breeds anger and helplessness breeds fear.
We also see from the caregiver’s point of view how difficult it is to be there 24/7 with very little support or resources. I felt such frustration with the medical community, the insurance companies and the communication about this disease.
It was a difficult book to come out of. My mind was full of “What If…..” I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would do in that situation and what my family would do.
I can honestly say this was the most moving book I have ever read. Nothing was glossed over, nothing was sugar coated. It was real people going through very human experiences and behaving in the way we’ve all seen people behave.
I would encourage everyone to read this book, regardless of age.