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Walking with Fay

by CYNTHIA BONSANT
Staff Writer | May 5, 2022 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — A local author is sharing her journey of caring for her ailing mother.

Carolyn Birrell (formerly Testa), of Bonners Ferry, has written “Walking with Fay: My Mother's Uncharted Path into Dementia.”

“This book is for those who’ve found themselves grappling with the indecision and guilt that often comes with caring for a loved one with dementia,” Birrell said. “It’s meant to help them find solace as they deal with it realistically and with a heart at peace.”

“Walking with Fay” is filled with genuine, relatable, and often hilarious stories of struggling to keep pace and always feeling one step behind as she lived through the painful reality of Birrell’s mother’s slow and tortuous farewell.

The author hopes that those struggling like she once did will come away with helpful insights, a little encouragement, and maybe even permission to embrace the conflicting feelings that often come with the monumental task of loving someone with dementia.

Birrell retired to Bonners Ferry in 2006, after living in Atlanta, Georgia, for 20 years. She worked for the American Cancer Society’s national headquarters and then as a real estate agent and new home builder. She began caring for her aging mother shortly after her move and started chronicling her journey.

What began as a written collection of her mother’s difficult behaviors during dementia’s earliest stages quickly turned into a comprehensive book that she continued to update until the inevitable end of her mother’s disease.

The book is published by Atmosphere Press and available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Book Depository and especially locally, through Bonners Books on Main Street.

For more information, visit carolynbirrell.com.