Myrna Marofsky’s relatable memoir ‘To the Last Dance’ reveals an undiscussed side of the Alzheimer’s struggle.

By Myrna Marofsky, Minnesota, USA

To The Last Dance, A Partner’s Story of Living and Loving Through Dementia is the book I wish I’d read when I was a caregiver.

When my husband Larry was diagnosed with Early-Stage Alzheimer’s, I received a diagnosis too. While different from his, I was now part of the 63% of unpaid women care partners in this country who carry the burden on the other side of a life-changing diagnosis. This book is my gift to those in a similar situation—those experiencing loss after loss, yet not wanting to lose everything. 

It includes stories of how I kept our loving relationship for 51 years, until Larry and I had our last dance only days before he died. I believe it was his gift to me, a gift of gratitude for creating a strategy that enabled him to live and love all the days of his life. For me, that bittersweet last dance was the culmination of all the work I did to keep from becoming a lesser version of myself amid my heartbreak. 

Larry died a few months before the COVID pandemic forced me to isolate in my home. This isolation gave me lots of time to reflect and relive. Going through personal journal entries and communications with my therapist, I began digging deeper into the motivations for my actions. Then I began to write. Draft after draft, each time opening my heart a bit more, only to realize that others might benefit from my stories. If I hadn’t heard this side of dementia, others probably hadn’t either, especially spouses in a loving relationship. 

COVID continued, and I kept writing about life when my world turned upside down. I had many aha moments as I recalled my mistakes, insights, actions, and interactions. Not only did Larry change, but I had transformed in ways I could never have anticipated. I found a consistent message—live lovingly through the loss, without losing yourself. Another way of saying it is, “Don’t lose your mind while they lose theirs.” Not funny, but sadly, true. 

Without knowing it, I redefined “caregiving” to “care-living,” a term that changes the conversation for a husband and wife living through dementia. It focuses on preserving the relationship. I became intentional about keeping Larry as my partner in life rather than a patient to care for. Surrender wasn’t an option. 

My stories demonstrate how I adopted a mindset of possibilities, with hints of hope. It is about how I kept that mindset by focusing on two questions that became my compass. 

  • How do you want to live each day? 
  • How do you want to feel in the end?

I wanted no regrets!

This book is not prescriptive, and above all, it won’t add more to the already-burdensome lists of “should do’s” partners and loved ones receive after a diagnosis. Instead, I hope it will encourage a way of thinking that provides moments, hours, and even days of quality living in fragile, yet treasured, relationships. It might even bring a smile or a laugh.

Through my stories and words, I hope readers won’t feel alone or left alone by those who don’t understand what they are going through. I get it!  

About the Author:

Myrna Marofsky is a business consultant, author, mother, and grandmother. Growing up in a tight-knit Jewish community in Minneapolis, she had three career choices when she graduated high school in 1963—nurse, secretary, or teacher.  She became an elementary teacher and has always remained a teacher in some capacity, continually encouraging others to find “aha” moments. A serial entrepreneur, she started a computer training company, ran a diversity consulting and training business, created diversity related products and training tools, wrote two business books, The Art of Diversity Training and Getting Started With Mentoring, and started an organization to support women as they grow their businesses. For fun, she manufactured and sold a travel backpack for women. Currently, Myrna works as a Chapter Chair for the Women Presidents Organization, where she facilitates peer groups of women business owners.  

  • Author: The Art of Diversity Training; Getting Started With Mentoring; and To The Last Dance, A Partner’s Story of Living and Loving Through Dementia.
  • Chapter Chair: Women Presidents Organization
  • Co-owner/President: ProGroup, Diversity Consulting and Training
  • Co-creator of WisePacks™, a travel backpack purse for women.
  • Awards: Power 50, NAWBO 2010 Women Achieve! Vision Award

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Connect With Myrna:

Enjoy a 20% discount with code ALZAUTHORS on the author’s website.

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