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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Relentless Goodbye, August 27, 2012
By 
Elsie Rempel (Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Relentless Goodbye: Grief and Love in the Shadow of Dementia (Paperback)
Relentless Goodbye by Ginnie Horst Burkholder (C) 2012 Herald Press, Harrisonburg, VI, Waterloo, ON.
Review - by Elsie Rempel, Formation Consultant, Mennonite Church Canada 2012-08-24
The Lewy Body Dementia Association director of programs says it well when she describes Ginnie Horst Burkholder's Relentless Goodbye as "an exquisitely written look at a marriage forever changed by Lewy body dementia--a testimony to the devotion and commitment of caregivers who carry someone's entire world on their shoulders." (from the back cover endorsements).
Relentless Goodbye provides a relentless read. Reading it feels like embarking on a roller coaster ride that starts slowly, but then picks up speed and won't stop. While on the ride readers empathize with both spouses, the one with the chronic, debilitating disease, and the one who becomes the caregiver and learns to name and live her grief authentically.
By writing this book, Ginnie Horst Burkholder articulates the journey for other caregivers who share a similar grief, and for others who would like to empathize, but don't know how. Written mainly in journal style, Relentless Goodbye provides compelling windows into the grind of endless repetition, fatigue, and loneliness that become part of spousal caregiving as it gives voice to the unique experiences of loss and grief that spouses experience when their partner is affected by dementia. In this case, Lewy body dementia gives it's victim occasional breakthroughs to clarity which add relief, confusion, and pain to the experience of adjusting to the progression of a spouse's disease.
While reading, I was torn with the desire to stop, because of the pain of empathy it demanded of me, and a compulsion to read on, to learn more, to feel more, as if the continued reading would be an act of solidarity with those who are subjected to the pain of living with and caring for a partner with dementia. The intensity of Ginnie's journey was almost too much to take in, but quotes from other caregivers who were on similar rides at the end of each chapter provided the chance to step back a bit and get a broader view. The places this reader wanted to linger were the poems and prayers which Ginnie's grief filled journey produced because these compositions provided eloquent testimony to wisdom and thick faith purified in a crucible of suffering most of us are spared.
The book also contains wisdom for responding to others who are on the difficult and relentless path of spousal caregiving. The Sunday school teacher who approached, coached, and walked with Ginnie as she learned to name her fears, journal, and join others in a grief support group provides encouragement to those of us who may want and need to help but don't know how.
While the book focuses on Lewy body dementia, a relatively new diagnosis that is frustrating to diagnose and understand, it could be a lifeline for many other spousal caregivers and would make a good group study book for others who would like to provide empathy and support. In addition, the questions at the end of each short chapter could stimulate significant discussion for those on a journey toward deeper faith and authenticity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Searingly honest, April 22, 2013
This review is from: Relentless Goodbye: Grief and Love in the Shadow of Dementia (Paperback)
Ginny Horst Burkholder tells a highly personal story of coming to terms, over many years, with her husband's dementia. Lewy body dementia gradually transforms him from beloved life partner to recipient of care, still much loved.

Readers who deal with cumulative losses, especially those due to disability of some kind, will find much to identify with in the author's gripping, searingly honest recounting of crushed expectations and day-by-day, dogged faithfulness to difficult commitments. As her husband's health spirals downward, Burkholder shares with readers the fruit of her determined effort to give her fears a voice, and the gradual empowerment this process gives her to claim her own value.

Relentless Goodbye is an expression of the author's faith, a faith planted firmly in this world of loss and grief, but connected to an enduring and renewing Presence. The tension between the two is reflected when she writes, "I seem to hold God's goodness in one hand and feelings of betrayal and abandonment in another" (99).

Faith and love are threads running throughout the book, surviving a relentless series of losses and sustaining the author through increasingly difficult circumstances. "I'm beginning to see that faith is not lack of questions, and love does not come without pain," she writes at the book's conclusion (263). Offering hope for all who confront life's hard limitations, she concludes, "I want to go forward knowing love and Presence even in the pain and loss. I hold on to hope that I will" (264).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much emotion, July 20, 2012
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This review is from: Relentless Goodbye: Grief and Love in the Shadow of Dementia (Paperback)
I truly enjoyed reading this book it gave me a sense of calm knowing that I am not alone in the caregivers world. I have read other books but I felt the emotion and identified with it on a very personal level.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lewy Body Dementia.....What do I do with my heart now., July 30, 2014
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This review is from: Relentless Goodbye: Grief and Love in the Shadow of Dementia (Paperback)
This book has been my "Bible" with having a husband with the same disease (Lewy Body dementia). I have read and re-read this book and loaned it to others. Tomorrow I will loan it to the director of the Home where my husband is as we talked of it today. My Paul has been in the Home now for a year and it has been a roller coaster for me. I come home and run for this book. My husband knows me at times and I still try to thank him for our 58 years together and our years of growing up together as children. It is too late to say all that I want to tell him but I still tell him. Once in a while he has a minute of clarity and he looked at me several weeks ago and said: "I feel sorry for you." Then he was gone again...I cried for days...I took care of him at home for 10 yrs...It was hard to let someone else take the reigns but so necessary. I visit every day. This book has been so helpful to me...In the past I would read it at bedtime and fall asleep with it in my arms....Patricia Dohrman in PA
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4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful to LBD Caregiver, July 10, 2014
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Helpful to LBD Caregiver. I can not imagine being a caregiver given the health problems of the author. But her book was very helpful to me. When she wrote about her feelings and emotions, tears came to my eyes. She put in print what I am feeling and do not talk about with anyone. I am now reading a third book re LBD caregiving; I find it so interesting that each LBD suffers in so many different ways from what I am experiencing in my husband. My husband also has cap gras syndrome which is not very common evidently, and that is only mentioned in one of the books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight - must read, May 22, 2014
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This book was so helpful. it put into words things I and others are facing.
to read her description of what she was/is going through is to put words on what so many caregivers are going through.
I totally recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tears, December 31, 2012
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I don't think anyone could read this without sympathy. If you are dealing with someone with a diagnosis of LBD or PDD it's good to know you're not alone - but keep your tissues handy. Ginnie Burkholder: thank you!
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4.0 out of 5 stars So helpful., February 7, 2013
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Snowbird (Putney, Vermont) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Relentless Goodbye: Grief and Love in the Shadow of Dementia (Paperback)
Burkholder captures the slow effects over time LBD wreaks on a marriage. She is intrepid, brutally honest, and kind. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, thoughtful reading, December 21, 2013
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This review is from: Relentless Goodbye: Grief and Love in the Shadow of Dementia (Paperback)
It would appeal to anyone dealing with dementia in a loved one. Completely realisic - but the love shines thru.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Writer, March 25, 2013
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This review is from: Relentless Goodbye: Grief and Love in the Shadow of Dementia (Paperback)
Since I ran through all my Patrick O'Brian books, this slaked my thirst for sea adventure. Great sea adventures by a knowledgeable writer.
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Relentless Goodbye: Grief and Love in the Shadow of Dementia
Relentless Goodbye: Grief and Love in the Shadow of Dementia by Ginnie Horst Burkholder (Paperback - May 31, 2012)
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