Monday, March 26, 2012

Kathy Reviews: Tough Care by Bernard Mooney

ISBN #: 978-1466391376
Page Count: 136
Copyright: December 20, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

As the baby boomer generation ages over the next few decades, the number of folks needing care can only increase, but recent industry and academic studies show that the ratio of younger people available to provide that care will decline. This means that future caregivers, on average, will be older, and it's also likely that they'll have infirmities of their own.

In Tough Care, Bernard Mooney discusses his feelings, reveals his experiences, and shares the difficult thoughts that entered his mind while caring for his beloved wife as she died slowly and painfully before his eyes. Telling the story of the last four of the thirty-nine years he spent with Celia served as a personal catharsis, and he hopes such an honest memoir will help other baby boomers that might one day face, or have already endured, similar circumstances.

Although two situations are rarely the same, Celia's illnesses were related to diabetes, hypertension, stroke, dementia, and depression, which are conditions common to most of us. Being the primary caregiver is a serious mental, emotional, and physical challenge, but readers will learn that perseverance is the key. Sensitive, tender, and deeply compelling, this book expresses how helping to provide a peaceful, loving, and respectful departure from this life is the best gift a spouse can give to fulfill his or her original wedding vows.

Kathy's Review:

Part memoir and part reference guide, Tough Care explores the emotional and physical difficulty of caring at home for a spouse with a terminal illness. Mooney's highly personal book (which includes family photos) about his wife's dying days, and those that followed her passing, is a testament to the love that transcends our time here on earth. I think anyone who is faced with this situation would certainly take comfort in this book, and perhaps learn how to handle situations they might not be sure how to deal with on their own. It's also a validation that as a caregiver, you have feelings too, although they are often sacrificed in the constant care and supervision that your loved one needs.

In the back of the book, there are several helpful references for surviving spouses, including a Mourner's Bill of Rights, and as Mooney's wife served in the military, there's information on obtaining burial in Arlington National Cemetery, as well as some historical info about the Women's Army Corps.

This book didn't have any maudlin undertones to it. When I sat down to read it, I thought maybe I would need to prepare myself emotionally, but I found that it was quite easy to get through. It is as much about his wife's life and their love as it is about her illness. I think he discussed her life and death very tastefully and respectfully.

I hope to not have to need a book like this for many, many years to come, but I think this book could bring comfort to someone going through something similar. It would be a good source to have if you don't know where to turn.

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