Love is Never Forgotten in Breakfast Memories: A Dementia Love Story

By Kate Hanley

I never thought I would be an author.  But I felt obligated to share my story after what I learned during my journey as a caregiver to both of my parents. Breakfast Memories – A Dementia Love Story is a story of love, and a love story.  A story of what I saw and felt as a daughter when my Mom experienced dementia, and how my father’s love through their 65 years of marriage and courtship proved the definitive weapon against this disease.

My story is a story of hope for all who are watching those they love lose their memories.  It is my personal journey of how I learned that when one is stricken by dementia, the mind and memories are lost and forgotten.  However, I witnessed, through the love of my father for my mother, that this disease does not hold power over the memories that are stored within our souls. 

In 2008, I entered a chapter in my life as caregiver to both of my parents. Neither their priests nor their doctors could give me or my 6 siblings the answers that we needed to prepare us for what was happening with our parents.  Both of my parents were gravely ill; my Dad with life threatening physical ailments and my mom with dementia.

There is a universality about accepting the role of being a parent to parents, about accepting that our parents will lose the ability to help themselves, about accepting that our parents are no longer who they were, about accepting a resistance when parents do not want their children interfering in their lives.

In shortened version of my story, I accepted these frustrating challenges as my husband and I and our two teenaged sons moved my seriously ill parents from their home to be near us in assisted living. Over the course of a four year period, after this relocation, they both passed. But caring for my parents offered me the privilege of time to learn of a love language that was spoken, with and without words, between my parents that I had not seen as a child growing up.

During the closing of my childhood home I discovered a cache of daily love devotionals that my dad had penned to my mom every morning at breakfast on a napkin.

The discovery of these love sonnets revealed the key to unlocking the window into my mom’s soul, and a glimpse back into the world of whom she once was, finding that her life, from birth to death had been filled with love.

If you are the caregiver for one who has succumbed to the disease of dementia, please do not despair.  You are doing the right thing.  Your love and kindness will be remembered.

I have heard from many readers after publishing this book on how my story has offered them a reason to hope.  Some are caring for parents with dementia.  Some are caring for spouses, aunts, uncles, or grandparents.  Each of them has shared with me that my memoir has empowered them with the belief that love is never forgotten

Purchase Breakfast Memories – A Dementia Love Story

About the Author

Kate Hanley’s discovery of her parent’s unique love language set her on a path she never anticipated—writing a book. Yet these beautiful “paper napkin sonnets,” and the story that surrounds them, were too precious and inspiring not to share, as they offer hope for anyone in the throes of caring for someone with dementia. Kate lives in Old Forge, New York with her husband and two dogs. Her two grown sons come home as often as possible to enjoy the peace and beauty of the Adirondack Mountains.

Connect with Kate Hanley




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