I’m so excited to welcome Andrea Couture to my blog today! I met Andrea through Alz Authors, a global community of authors writing, blogging, podcasting, etc. about Alzheimer’s and Dementia from personal experience with the goal to light the way for others. Andrea is an Alz Author associate and was my contact as I joined the community and she was so kind to me. I love her post today, it touches on the memoir that she wrote about her father, and her family’s journey through his Alzheimer’s diagnose – and also explores the reason why memoir writing is so important. As someone who wrote a memoir, I really resonated with her words. I know many of you may be thinking about sharing your story too – and I know Andrea’s will encourage you! Read through her post below, and make sure to check out her beautiful book, Embracing what Remains

Guest post by Andrea Couture…

The Journey of a Memoir

Before I wrote my memoir, I had no intention of doing so and certainly not at age 40 and a mother of three young children. Some would say I had only lived “half a life”, so far. What could I possibly have to write about? What wisdom could I share or impart to my readers? Maybe I had only lived half a life, but my father had lived a very full one, albeit cut short, in my opinion. He was 70 when I decided to write about our relationship and he was 3 years into his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. A retired surgeon declining in all ways, diagnosed the same year my last child was born, set the stage for a story I felt I had to document and ultimately turn into a memoir of this journey for my family.

Writing had been the way I expressed my feelings and emotions that always felt the most productive and I had been in the habit since I was 9, starting out with a diary. Writing was and continues to be cathartic, thought provoking, and healing. The chance to tell my story of my father as a man, a husband, a father, a surgeon, and then as a patient was a way to pay tribute, honor, and share our story with the world to hopefully help others.

What came of this process was the ability to say I wrote a book, I self-published it, I marketed, I recorded an audiobook, but even more importantly was that I connected with readers and other authors. I became a member of a group of authors dedicated to shining light on the dark journey of dementia and providing hope, purpose, and healing for our readers. The writing was a major part but it wasn’t the only part of this journey. The beauty has been truly what has come from this process. The gratitude from readers with a dementia or caregiving connection, the tears in my mothers’ eyes from her own gratitude for having these words recorded for her to always read or listen to, a story for my children to go back to and remember their papa and even themselves in a snapshot of time, forever in print. The beauty has been in my ability to learn and embrace vulnerability and encourage others to do the same, the confidence I’ve gained from interviews, in writing other pieces to share my experience and the knowledge that though it is bittersweet, so very bittersweet, my father’s journey, our journey, has meant something more than any of us ever knew at the time.

Writing a memoir is never just about the words, it is about the experience before, during, and after those words have been printed. One of my readers said so eloquently to me once, “you are dropping a pebble in the water, the ripples will continue to spread.”

Thanks for sharing with us today Andrea!

Andrea Couture is an author and mother of three children. She holds a degree in Journalism from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. Embracing What Remains is Andrea’s first memoir and book. Andrea is a member of the AlzAuthors with the mission: “We are a community of authors sharing Alzheimer’s and dementia stories to light the way for others.” She lives in New Hampshire with her family and their dog. 

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