Apologies first of all to those of you who thought I might have given up on this blog, but it’s just that life has been a tad hectic lately. Which is all to the good, but it is also good to be back writing again.
A little while ago, I was asking people which topics they might like to hear about and there were a few votes for reviews of current books on mediumship, so I thought I would kick off a series of book reviews with a note about one by a lovely lady I met in Swansea in September, at the annual meeting of the Society for Psychical Research. Maggie La Tourelle is one of those who know that life is for living to the full, for exploring and having fun with; she has an air of tremendous personal warmth, which struck me as soon as I met her, and I’m glad we got chatting as quickly and as easily as we did.
The book has a striking title – not many of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or have cared for someone who does would regard it as much of a gift, but Maggie offers a different perspective from having cared for her mother in the final years of her life. Maggie’s book is a wonderful read, suffused with love, which works on many levels at once. It is a heart-warming personal story of difficulty turned to account, and it is a valuable reminder of the importance of relationships, of the need to see them as ongoing processes, always capable of improvement – and of great reward and stability when underlying issues have been dealt with.
The Gift of Alzheimer’s also offers unique insights into the benefits of seeing dying as a process that can be managed beautifully and productively. One particularly valuable suggestion is that as the physical brain deteriorates, the soul is gradually freed to see more and more of the ‘Other World’, as Maggie calls it. Depending upon the support that an Alzheimer’s ‘sufferer’ is given, this loosening of the connections between spirit and physical form can enable the perception of people and information in ways that are usually only available to those of us who have spent many years developing our mediumistic abilities. Maggie demonstrates this gradually as she takes us through the many conversations she had with her mother as the disease took hold, and her mother came to spend more and more time aware of spirit as her brain and body, her tool for being in this world, gradually became less and less fit for that purpose. In this way, healing from spirit was more easily given, resulting in a new and unexpected phase of healing in Maggie’s own relationship with her mother and other members of the family. A new openness came into both their lives, which led to their love for each other being allowed to flow freely, transforming what had been a difficult space to inhabit into a sacred one filled with beauty and contentment. These are important points, offering valuable new perspectives on the possible future care of Alzheimer’s patients, and potential benefits for those doing the caring.
Maggie makes it clear that the practicalities of looking after her mother were not easy, and that there were times when they took their toll, but rather than tears of frustration, it is clear that there were tears of joy in the writing of this book – it is a joy for the reader to encounter an author willing to be so sharing of herself, who knows that there is no shame in tears, for it is, as I always say, simply a heart overflowing.
Like all good teachers, Maggie has the ability to make complex processes accessible to those of us who may not be quite as articulate as she is. Apart from anything else, this book is a good read, using language that is simple, beautiful and honest. On a subject like this, I’m not sure there is a whole lot more you could ask of an author.
The Gift of Alzheimer’s is available through Amazon and directly through Maggie’s website – http://www.maggielatourelle.com
My own parents worked with Alzheimer’s patients and their carers for a number of years, so I know where one copy will be going this Christmas.