Published in the Rains County Leader on December 19, 2017:
Many wedding ceremonies include words to the effect that “love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment.” The idea, of course, is that love is not simply the dizzying excitement of a new relationship or the warm, fuzzy feeling of a long established marriage. It’s a commitment to act in a loving manner even when you don’t feel like it. People who rely simply on loving feelings are often disillusioned when the honeymoon is over. The more Christmases I experience, the more I realize that Christmas is a lot like love –those who rely simply on the magical feelings of the season are destined for disappointment.
My husband David is a nostalgia kind of guy, and he often reminisces about the good old days, especially at this time of year. He recently lamented the fact that he can’t seem to recapture the excitement and anticipation he experienced during the Christmas season when he was younger. Unfortunately, some of the magic of those mysterious packages disappears when you know the bills will be waiting for you at the end of the month. And let’s face it, there’s not as much magic in a new sweater or even the latest book by your favorite author as there was in a shiny red bicycle or a Daisy Red Rider BB Gun. There’s still lots of magic to be found, though, if you know where to look. (more…)
About the book:
What if the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn’t remember your name? A care facility is everyone’s solution for what to do about Sara, but her husband, Jack, can’t bear to live without her. He is committed to saving his marriage, his wife, and their life together from the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease. He and Sara retired years ago to the house of their dreams, and operated it as a Cape Cod bed and breakfast named Blue Hydrangeas. Jack has made an impossible promise: He and Sara will stay together in their beautiful home no matter what the disease brings. However, after nine years of selfless caregiving, complicated by her progressing Alzheimer’s and his own failing heart, he finally admits he can no longer care for her at home. With reluctance, he arranges to admit her to an assisted living facility. But, on the day of admission, Sara is having one of her few good days, and he is unable to follow through. Instead, he takes them on an impulsive journey to confront their past and reclaim their future. In the end, he realizes that staying together at any cost is what truly matters.
Blue Hydrangeas is a beautifully written novel that tells the story of a man’s all-consuming love for his wife who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. It is also the story of how this terrible disease affects the entire network of family and friends that surrounds the affected person. Marianne Sciucco does not mention a personal connection with Alzheimer’s, but I’m sure she has dealt with it in her career as a nurse. She definitely writes about the dementia experience with the insight and sensitivity of one who has watched a loved one disappear slowly, one memory at a time.
The story is about more than the disease, though. Sciucco paints lovely word pictures of the Blue Hydrangeas Bed & Breakfast and of the love between Jack and Sara that is stronger than the trials they must face together. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and am looking forward to the prequel that will be coming soon.
About the author:
I’m not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, I studied the craft of writing as an English major at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and briefly worked as a newspaper reporter in New England. To avoid poverty, I later became a nurse and write about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues. A native Bostonian who loves Cape Cod, I make my home in upstate New York. When I’m not writing contemporary and young adult “flinch-free” fiction, I work as a campus nurse at a community college. I am also a founder of AlzAuthors blog, spotlighting carefully vetted books and blogs for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. To see what else I’m up to visit http://MarianneSciucco.blogspot.com or find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. You may also drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Published in the Rains County Leader on December 12, 2017:
Change is one of those things that few people are neutral about – they either thrive on the new and different or they cling to the old and familiar. I’m more of a clinger. I tend to buy the same brands when I shop, I avoid trendy fashions in favor of the classics, and I almost never rearrange my furniture. This week, however, I’ve had to adjust.
I mentioned last week that David’s sister has ordered a new sofa and is passing on the sofa and love seat that were originally in their mother’s house to us. Since we have no extra space in either the house or the storage shed, our existing sofa, chair, and recliner have to go. I took pictures of those pieces shortly after we returned from our Thanksgiving visit, but for some reason – probably my resistance to change – I didn’t follow through and post them on the Rains County On-Line Garage Sale. Last Friday, I finally got busy, and within four hours of my posting, the recliner was gone. Less than twenty-four hours later, the sofa and chair were sold, and by the time this column is published, they will be gone, too. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on December 5, 2017:
In 1986 Robert Fulghum published a book titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Over the last thirty years, it has become a standard of common sense wisdom, and the basic ideas of this simple credo can often be seen on plaques, coffee cups, and other gift items. The first item on the list is always “Share everything.”
I’ve been thinking about sharing a lot the last couple of weeks, and for good reason. It seems like every time I turn around, I run into an opportunity to share, sometimes on the giving end and sometimes on the receiving end. (more…)