Andrea Couture Wrote the Book She Yearned for on Her Dementia Journey

Andrea Couture, Embracing What Remains

By Andrea Couture

My memoir, Embracing What Remains, came from a place of love and respect and, in retrospect, a way of coping. I first realized I wanted to write my memoir about my father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and struggle when I began witnessing his decline. At times I could not grasp the overwhelming feeling that I was losing him so I began documenting what I was seeing happen, at times writing with the shock of irony, and other times a humbling sadness. Writing has always been a way for me to get out my deepest thoughts and reflections; it felt like a release. Additionally, I wanted to craft a memoir that I had wanted so badly to read myself when I found out my dad was diagnosed. I had been looking forward to growing closer to my father in his retirement, but the way we grew closer was not as I had predicted or could have ever known.

My father was a surgeon for 40 years. I remember typing in a search term in Amazon that read “doctor with Alzheimer’s” and nothing came back. I wanted to read about another doctor that was a father and how his child processed his decline. My father was diagnosed at age 67 and I was 37 with three small children. I felt sandwiched between two generations and wondered how many others out there felt the same. I read many other memoirs in the process and realized that, though my story had similarities, it also was unique in itself, and held a fascinating history and humbling detail of a man losing himself.

My hope in writing my memoir was to reach other children of Alzheimer’s or other terminal illnesses and show how a diagnosis and decline can bring many feelings, including denial, anger, sadness, frustration, and love, but most of all can lead to hope and acceptance. The road to acceptance was paved with a process of transformation for myself and my family.

I also wanted to tell the story of my mother as my father’s caregiver and her commitment to keep him home and how she was changed in the process. I wanted to give her a voice and share how I viewed her as my father’s caregiver and how that can affect the family dynamic. 

My goals in sharing my story were to reach anyone needing to feel less alone, and to also educate those on the physical and mental changes in Alzheimer’s that are not as readily discussed or understood. Alzheimer’s goes beyond a name or face forgotten; it affects many physical abilities as I so observed with my father.

I also wanted to be a voice for those struggling to help ailing parents while raising children. My youngest child was born the year my father was diagnosed so together they aged in opposite directions and it was very poignant to watch at times.

Lastly, I wanted to share my story to let the world know anyone can get Alzheimer’s, even a genius, successful, innovative, organized, eloquent surgeon. I hope my story brings about awareness, understanding, a willingness to openly discuss Alzheimer’s, and also a way for those to process the disease of their loved one. 

Purchase Embracing What Remains on Amazon

About the Author

Andrea Couture is an author and mother of three children. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. Embracing What Remains is her first memoir and book. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, children, and dog.

Connect with Andrea Couture

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