LaBena Fleming’s Touching Memoir, I Love You Always


I-Love-You-Always-LaBenaFlemingBy LaBena Fleming

The Story Behind the Story of I Love You Always

I don’t know that I can say I “chose” to write a memoir.  Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say I was compelled to do it.

During my mom’s journey with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, I felt led to keep a journal.  At first, I resisted, but as I gave in and began to record the events of the days/weeks, and write down my feelings, I looked forward to the task.  My journal became the best friend I could speak to any time, day or night.  The journal didn’t judge me when I told it that I was angry with my mom, frustrated, or tired.  The journal just listened.  The journal became my ongoing prayer….my daily communication with God.

My relationship with my journal continued after the death of my mom.  When I wrote of the relief I felt, the journal didn’t tell me I was a horrible person.  When I wrote of the guilt I felt for experiencing happiness while attending my step-daughter’s wedding, just two short months after Mom’s death, my journal didn’t say, “How dare you experience joy?”  My journaling helped me feel a sense of normalcy when nothing around me felt normal.

A few months after Mom’s death, I again felt a “nudge.”  This time, I was “directed” to share my experiences with others by using my journal to create a memoir.  I was not too fond of that directive and resisted with everything within me.  Then conscience stepped in.  If what I’d experienced could help someone else, how could I keep it to myself?

Instead of asking why I chose to write I Love You Always, a better question would be, “How could I not write it?”  The late, great Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better.”  Through the sharing of our experiences, we help others to know better, empowering them to do better.  There were many things I did wrong, but because of my mistakes, now someone else will be able to do better.  There were many things I did right, and someone else can now benefit from my experiences.

My book tells the story of a woman who, although diagnosed with dementia, was determined to live until the age of ninety.  It is also a love story, showing what we can accomplish when we step outside of ourselves and work together for what’s in the best interest of our loved ones.  It serves as a resource, sharing valuable caregiver tips as well as other practical lessons learned along the way.  In addition, it is a message of faith.  I can’t imagine any journey that is more harrowing than that of dementia, and I don’t know how people navigate their way through it without a strong anchor.  My anchor was God.  Words of encouragement, faith, and hope are dispersed throughout the book by the inclusion of favored scriptures.

I Love You Always, One Family’s Alzheimer’s/Dementia Journey and the Lessons Learned Along the Way is a reminder that our best is the best we can do until we know better.  We must share our stories and strive to learn more so we can do better.


LaBena Fleming was born in Detroit, Michigan, raised in Ravenna, Ohio, and presently resides in Richmond Heights, Ohio, with her husband.  LaBena received her bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Development from Notre Dame College of Ohio.  She went on to earn master’s degrees in Elementary Education and Educational Administration from Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio.  A former insurance industry professional, elementary school teacher/administrator, and community education and outreach coordinator for an organ and tissue procurement organization, LaBena retired from her position as provider relations manager/community outreach and education coordinator with an area hospice provider in 2017. She served as one of her mother’s primary caregivers and currently enjoys spending time with her husband, daughters, and granddaughter, public speaking, gardening, traveling, reading, and of course, writing.  Although she has always “dabbled” in writing, having written poetry and freelancing for a few greeting card companies, I Love You Always is her first book.

Social Media Links


Twitter:  @labenaf


LinkedIn:  LaBena Fleming


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3 Responses

  1. My 73 year old father had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I’m am absolutely shocked just how rapidly this cruel and insidious disease has taken my beloved father away from us.
    I have welcome any coping mechanisms especially for my mom who is his Primary Caregiver while we are in a full Lockdown in Ontario.

    We don’t know where to turn for support and advice on how to deal with the effects of this disease on a daily 24/7.

    Thanking you ALL in advance for your responses,
    referrals to reputable sites/organizations & words of encouragement!!! May God Bless you All

    1. Hi Claude’sMommy2

      As cofounder of AlzAuthors our mission is to support you through books and blogs. If you enjoyed LaBena’s post you can order her book, directly from Amazon in paperback or Kindle just by clicking on the cover of the book within her post. We believe it helps if you can read the words of others in books and blogs, to know you’re not alone.

      Please click on the bookstore tab at the top of our site to see hundreds of books written from personal experience by authors worldwide who have walked some part of your journey. You can order any of these books with just a click from Amazon in paperback, Kindle and many in Audible form.

      Also, you can click the podcast tab to listen to some of these same authors being interviewed.

      Please view the resources in our “Find a Resource” tab as well.

      You are not alone. We’re all in this together. We help each other through.

      Jean Lee

    2. Claude’s Mommy,

      Sorry that you and your family are having to deal with this horrendous disease. No matter how prepared one thinks they are, the reality is that we are never fully prepared for this journey.

      I encourage you to read as much as you can, join an online support group that you feel comfortable with, reach out to your area Alzheimer’s Association, and make plans for things that may be down the line for you. It may also be beneficial to consult with an elder law attorney.

      I wish you the best and pray that God grants you all strength for your journey.


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