Memory’s Last Breath is quite a remarkable story of the life that Gerda Saunders, the author, is currently facing. Born and raised in South Africa, she was a driven young lady, striving for scholarships and to study abroad in America. Early in her marriage, she and her family move to Utah where she continues her study of English and begins working as assistant director of the Gender Studies Program at the University of Utah until her early retirement. She had recently been diagnosed with early on-set of Dementia at the age of 61. She immediately began to write notes of her misadventures throughout the day, like forgetting to turn off a burner on the stove, or forgetting how to pick out clothes to wear and how to wear them properly.
The author is very scientific with her notes, no whining about her misfortunes, just the facts. Writing seems to be a way for her to keep her thoughts straight and has given her a sense of purpose. She and her husband also have come to the realization that there may be a time when her quality of life diminishes. They have made decisions about their future care and needs.
This is a fascinating look at the diminishing lifestyle of a person with Dementia. It gives hints to the despair the author feels each time she has to call her husband to help her out of a new predicament. This story is factual and provides informative information on how the brain works and how the disease affects it. Gerda Saunders writes with truth and sometimes in a humorous way. The book does touch on death and dignity with dying. Gerda Saunders has given us a window into her inspiring and courageous journey of life.
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