AND I’LL NEVER LOVE HIM LESS
Fruitbearer Publishing, LLC (2020)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (8/2020)
“And I’ll Never Love Him Less: Book 2: The Rest of the Story,” by Candy Abbott, is a follow-up to her book, “I’ve Never Loved Him More,” in which she tells the journey of her life with her husband, Drew, after his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. In this sequel, the author indeed tells the rest of the story, with great poignancy, humor, and care. This book is more than a memoir or a self-help guide relating to Alzheimer’s and caregiving. It’s a love story. A true romance that stands the test of time, and the test of illness.
There are many facets and themes to Abbott’s book, like perseverance, loyalty, frustration, and acceptance, but the overall story is about life in the final stages of Alzheimer’s and its effect on Drew, his family, friends, and his wife. There are many gems for the reader to claim in this book, gems that will help you understand and cope if you’re caring for someone with declining cognitive ability. One of the takeaways that is most touching is how the love for your loved one shifts but doesn’t decrease. The disease may change the shape of that love, but the love still remains. Practical advice includes what to expect from hospice, respite care, and volunteers; as well as an admonition to try to make some time for yourself if you’re a caregiver, so that you’ll have more of yourself to give to your ill loved one.
Abbott is a conscientious writer, and this is a conscientious book. She doesn’t hold back, sugar-coat, or minimize. That would be a disservice to readers, and to her journey with Drew. She tells their story with honesty and frankness, while giving hope that even in the end, there can be peace. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s can try your patience, and challenge you in ways you never dream, but as Abbott’s book shows, practical tips and advice can make the ordeal easier to bear. It may not feel like it during the process, but there are lessons to learn, and love to share. As she says in her book, her vow of “I do” was meant to last a lifetime, and that means commitment, no matter what.
Another aspect of the book that may be helpful to readers is the author’s faith, which can be tested and stretched to the limits during a medical crisis. But her faith saw her through to the end of their journey and brought her closer to Jesus Christ. The personality changes in Drew were the most heartbreaking, as any Alzheimer’s caregiver can attest. Abbott’s descriptions and details will bring tears to your eyes. Like how she describes the moment her husband asked her who she was, and thought they were on vacation somewhere because he didn’t recognize his home or surroundings. And the time that he wrote “Help me” will go right through you, as it did her. She talks about the denial that some of his family had at times, and the humor–yes, humor–she found in some of the situations. You’ll realize that she learned more about herself than she ever thought she could.
Finding joy in illness may seem impossible, but this is the kind of transformative experience she had. “And I’ll Never Love Him Less: Book 2, The Rest of the Story,” by Candy Abbott, could make a difference in your life, or the life of a caregiver.