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Dance Me to the End
- Ten Months and Ten Days with ALS
- Narrated by: Ellen Dubin
- Length: 7 hrs and 21 mins
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Marty, age 57, was given a preliminary diagnosis of ALS by his family doctor. Seven weeks later, the diagnosis was confirmed by a neurologist. Ten months and ten days later, Marty passed away.
From day one, Alison, Marty’s spouse of over twenty-five years, kept a journal as a way to navigate the overwhelming state of her mind and soul. Soon the rawness of her words harmonized to tell the story of Marty’s diagnosis, illness, and decline. Her journal became a chronicle of caregiving as well as an emotional exploration of the tensions between the intuitive and the pragmatic, the logical and illogical, and the all-consuming demands of being both spouse and nurse. Divided into short pieces, some of which sounds like free verse, Alison’s words are at times profoundly intense and painfully private.
The composition of the intricate notes of a life in its final movements includes another stanza of the journal that became Dance Me to the End: the guiding of children grappling with the imminent loss of a parent, and the shifting roles of family, friends, and community—all of which add their own complex rhythms.
Dance Me to the End is an evocative memoir about the emotional impact of witnessing a loved one suffer from a neurological, degenerative, and terminal disease. This is a detailed account of grief, shock and pain coexisting with the levity, laughter and love shared with her husband and sons in those final months of Marty's life.
What the critics say
“This lyrical debut … captures life as a series of snapshots, as a couple grows simultaneously closer together and further apart in the wake of a sudden life change … A mesmerizing memoir by a talented writer on coming to terms with the unexpected.”—Library Journal
“This elegant memoir bears precise and intimate witness to the experience of caring for a loved one with a terminal disease. It examines the rhythms of marital love—how care flourishes and frays, retracts and rallies—under the most difficult of situations. Alison Acheson has gifted us a book with a genuinely human and complex heart.”—Kyo Maclear, author of Birds Art Life
“An achingly painful memoir … told with honesty and grace.”—Toronto Star
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- Denise Paulsen
I very much appreciated this book at a time when i am facing similar circumstances. I have a Marty in my life - my husband of 26-years. I can’t imagine the loss you’ve sustained. Not yet. I wish you the best of everything.