A searingly honest yet inspirational memoir of how dementia changed a family in ways they never could have imagined.
'Looking for Lionel is a personal story. It is a story of how dementia crept into my family unannounced and left us struggling to hold on to a life that appeared to be slipping away from us like a balloon slipping out of a child's hand. It is a story of fear and courage, shame and pride, sorrow and joy. It is a story of paradox, where the least capable person in our family was, for a time, calling all the shots. It is a story of how our lives changed in ways we never could have imagined.'
Looking for Lionel is a warm, insightful memoir about how dementia entered Sharon Snir's family and left them struggling with fear and sorrow. As Sharon shares her inspirational story, she invites you into her world of laughter and tears. Written for family and friends of those with the disease, it helps readers regain their courage and find the joys of relating in the here and now.
'To write about dementia and to make it sound manageable and even
joyful (given certain attitudes and behaviours on the part of carers) is
one of those skills not readily available to your average writer. But
Sharon Snir has it in spades.
Psychotherapist Sharon Snir's mother Lily seems to have been a
'difficult' parent: 'kind and cruel, sweet and bitter - and stunningly
beautiful' writes Sharon in her preamble. The main focus of her life was
her doctor husband, Lionel, followed by her other interests: the
hairdresser, art, travel, friends, clothes and social events. Sharon and
her sister Donna tried to be acknowledged, appreciated and loved by
their mother, but she was more interested in her friends, however hard
Lily tried to be the child she hoped her mother wanted.
Then dementia struck.
Sharon's story is about the progress of Lily's disease, interspersed
with the latest research on dementia.
It moves from observed changes in behaviour (such as forgetfulness) to
the struggle Lily and other family members and friends had to find ways
to cope with a person whose life and theirs had been turned upside down.
The story is painfully honest, full of attempts to understand the
condition and suggest strategies, the most important of which is to 'let
go of past baggage, old resentments and hurts' and to deal with
whatever presents so that 'the relationship becomes a heart to heart
experience'. To sum it all up, dementia 'is the opportunity to move from
conditional to unconditional love'.
And there's no turning back, no cure, no ways other than patience,
tolerance and understanding. And by doing so, one comes to understand
oneself; dementia in a loved one reveals to us who we are.
I found Sharon's story moving in the extreme, written with the
tenderness, love and insight that lesser mortals such as I can only
aspire to.' - Alan Wheatley, VIC
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Sharon talks about her book:
Sharon Snir is a practising gestalt psychotherapist who gives regular local and international workshops and lectures.
ALLEN & UNWIN
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