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An Uncommon Friendship Paperback – May 14, 2012
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About the Author
Monique Colver is an accountant, a bookkeeper, and a writer, not necessarily in that order. She was first paid for writing by America Online, but don't hold that against her. She was born, and someday she will die, and in the middle she hopes to make people happy. Monique has written for military publications, business publications, and general interest publications. She avoids crowds but loves people, and she likes numbers but words are even better.
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This book is the story of a journey, especially Monique's, from an unhappy marriage (to an unnamed person), to a happy marriage with Stewart, and then its unraveling after he became seriously mentally ill. The marriage ended in divorce, but that divorce did not end the relationship. Monique and Stewart maintained a deep and abiding friendship; the vows they'd made to one another were lived out in all the important ways.
Thus this is also the story of how Monique learned to be a caretaker for Stew, a profoundly ill man, who met the challenges he faced with admirable humor, when he could. In the beginning, Monique's own mental health was threatened by Stew's overwhelming needs, so it is also the story of how she learned to take care of herself.
Both Stewart and Monique kept journals, and the story is told partly through those real-time entries, which are as funny and sad and disturbing as the events they recorded. They decided at one point to write a book together, and Stewart wrote essays for that book, which as it turned out he never had a chance to complete. But some of those essays made it into this volume. Stewart is unusual, I think, in that he had a great deal of insight into his mental illness, which makes his sections particularly valuable and poignant.
This is a great book to read. And a great book to buy for a friend or family member who has mental illness or is dealing with someone who does.
The authors tell a wonderful, compassionate, loving story. In addition, there is so much information about the experience of mental illness, the struggles and joys of being a caregiver, and all the accompanying isolation and stress.
This is a book for so many people. Those who suffer or stand by. Those who make decisions about social service and medical care. Those who set policy.
More than all that, this book is about being human. Being in relationship with a personal through joy and strife. Relationship that is a covenant - not a convenience - and that is based on mutual care and trust and love.
You will be moved and inspired - all in beautiful words and all with a fun energy that keeps you smiling even if the smile is sometimes bittersweet.
I loved the tenderness and respect the couple had for each other. Even though they went through some brutal times, their underlying love, gentleness, and good humor is always present.
It's unfortunate that mental illness is so prevalent in our society. I applaud Monique and Stew's courageous first hand account in bringing this subject to light.