: Departure Gate and Driving Press Release :

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Summer 2018 Issue: Mandy Thomas’ Tender Account about Her Mother and the Ravages of Dementia Leads and Kenneth McClane’s Companion Memoir About His Loss of Both Parents to Alzheimer’s Closes this Moving Edition

2018 Summer:  "Departure Gate"Yellow Springs, OH (October 15, 2018) – In our Summer 2018 edition, Australian writer, Mandy Thomas writes a tender yet unblinking essay about the loss her mother to dementia.

In the title issue, “Departure Gate,” Thomas describes her mother’s gradual loss of self, writing, “…she was an alien even to herself. She often wanted to see herself in the mirror to adjust her hair and she would get startled when she saw her reflection. I wondered to myself - what is it like to look into a mirror but to be a foreigner in one’s own skin?

This beautifully written essay offers poignant clues of dementia that reference Thomas’ mother’s earlier life, customs, joys, and habits as a way of documenting the ultimate erasure of everything her mother once was.

Robert Fogarty, editor of the Antioch Review said of the essay and its author, “brilliantly captures the emotional stress placed on both the patient and the caregiver as they both struggle to comfort one other. “

A companion piece, “Driving,” (from our archive) is a memoir by author Kenneth McClane about the loss of both parents to Alzheimer’s disease. McClane calls Alzheimer’s “this progression of diminishment” which is compounded by the overlapping afflictions experienced by both his mother, first, followed by his father’s decline.

Thomas and McClane touch upon some commonalities in their pieces that were written more than a decade apart: Thomas wrote of the women who lived in the same facility as her mother, “…every woman who lived within these walls exhibited dementia in startlingly different forms.”

So, too, writes McClane:Each family is different; the disease, I know, is horrific, and it can only bring unimaginable sorrow to a family, in ways that are specific, brutally intimate, and often disabling...It is the height of horror to confront someone who has the shape, the smell, and the aspect of a person with whom you have shared your most intimate moments, and yet that person is merely a shell.”

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