Somebody Stole My Iron: A Family Memoir of Dementia
by Vicki Tapia

Praeclarus Press LLC, 2014. ISBN 978-1-939-80707-6.
Reviewed by Cinda Brooks
Posted on 06/02/2016

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Life Lessons; Nonfiction: Elders

Concerns over my family's long history of Alzheimer's disease drew me to Vicki Tapia's memoir Somebody Stole My Iron. As I peer into the future, the potential battle with this brutal thief is one of my greatest fears because of the way it robs what I treasure most—health, relationship, and memories. I wanted to learn all I could about this potential adversary. As a nurse, I have studied the medical side but was interested in the human and emotional aspects of this battle. I found what I was looking for in this eye-opening book.

Tapia takes the reader on her journey as she faces a two-headed thief. She walks alongside her parents as her father deteriorates into dementia and her mother into the emptiness and confusion of Alzheimer's:

...I no longer recognized the woman I once called 'Mom.' I watched helplessly as the disease silently took away more and more of my mother, and she slowly but surely disappeared; first her mind, then her body. Heartbreakingly, she inescapably and gradually slipped away, gathering herself in a dark place in the furthest corners of her mind, where no one else could venture.

Somebody Stole My Iron is not a pleasant or light read, it's a gut-wrenching emotional journey into the thoughts, reflections, and emotions of a woman as she navigates the confusing world of providing physical, financial, and emotional needs of her parents when their health and mental functioning decline as their disease progresses.

Tapia gives a glimpse of the agony of her emotional journey: "I have disconnected my heart from my brain this afternoon, as I mechanically sort through what is left of my mother's life." She writes from the perspective of the caregiver and loving family member, and tops off each chapter with a section on lessons learned, providing practical tips and wisdom for those facing a similar journey. She completes her book with information and resources handy for those facing such a journey.

Thank you, Vicki Tapia. for taking the courageous step to give your readers a glimpse of what you have learned along a tough journey.

Vicki Tapia, a breastfeeding educator for over 30 years, found her energies redirected to the other end of life when both her parents were diagnosed with dementia. Tapia currently works in a pediatric clinic and writes for lactation journals. The mother of three grown children (and four grandchildren), she lives with her husband and dog in Montana. Visit her website.

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