Dave Meurer Fills His Book, New Every Day, With Healing Humor


Dave-Muerer-CoverBy Dave Meurer

No one plans to have Alzheimer’s disease crash into the life of a loved one, any more than someone plans on being involved in a train wreck. But a problem never asks you if it is a convenient time to barge in the door.

“Not ready for a crisis? No worries. I’m flexible. Tuesday work for you? No? How about next week? I am wide open at 11:00 AM on Friday. I may be a disaster, but I’m reasonable. Let’s make this a win-win.”

Doesn’t happen that way.

Alzheimer’s disease is one of those tragic events that elbows into your life, hurts someone you love, breaks your heart, bewilders your mind, disrupts your plans, impacts your finances, and consumes enormous time and emotional energy.

You need to sit down with a friend who is in the same boat, commiserate, share what has and hasn’t worked, have a good cry, but also—importantly—have a good laugh at some of your mutual experiences. You need some joy on this hard slog of a journey. You can’t go it alone. You need to be connected to someone who knows exactly what you are talking about when you have this conversation with your loved one:

Karin (my mother-in-law): “People keep saying I have that thing. What is it they say I have?”

Me: “Memory loss.”

Karin: “Well, I don’t!”

My book is an attempt to be a friend who gets it and helps lighten the load.

When I say we need to laugh, let me make it clear that we aren’t laughing at our loved one, or making light of the disease.  Alzheimer’s is truly awful. But the situation we are in has the potential to drag us into a dark cave. I have read all kinds of books and articles on Alzheimer’s disease, and while they have been informative and helpful they are generally sort of dry and, honestly, kind of depressing. I believe we need some laughter as we make our way down this long and painful road. And when something happens that makes you laugh, I think it is healthy to enjoy the moment.

I am a professional humor writer with several commercially successful books on the market.  It was a huge stretch for me to pen “New Every Day; Navigating Alzheimer’s With Grace and Compassion.”  I was scared at the thought.  It almost seemed like writing a humorously about cancer.  (But I remembered that is exactly what my friend and fellow author Laura Walker did when she penned “Thanks for the Mammogram” after surviving breast cancer.  She gave the gift of laughter to hurting people.)  So I dove in and wrote the book.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, at the height of World War II, regularly set aside time to watch slapstick Groucho Marx films. He knew he could not take nonstop stress. He knew he needed to laugh. I believe he was wise.  So laughter, infused with compassion, is the distinctive takeaway I bring to the reader.

My wife and I never laugh at Karin or anyone with Alzheimer’s. We laugh at the utterly unexpected comment. We smile at the absurdities that take us completely off guard. Like the time we were having dinner with Karin during her 83rdbirthday party and she remarked: “I’m left handed, but I like to bat with my right.”

We laughed.  She laughed.  It was good for all of us.

We laugh so we won’t cry, or sometimes we laugh and cry at the same time.

Give yourself permission to laugh.  It is a gift from God.  It helps you bear the heavy load.

Bio:  Dave Meurer is an award-winning humor writer who has authored several books and hundreds of magazine articles.  HisMeurer-Dave work has been featured by Focus on the Family, Marriage Partnership, In Touch, Home Life and numerous other publications.  He has worked for the United States Congress and the California State Senate, which he says you should find somewhat alarming “because this means a humor writer was involved in running the government – which explains a lot.”  He is married to Dale, his wife of 40 years.  They have two adult sons and reside in Northern California.

Website: www.davemeurer.net

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/DaveMeurer

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