From the Introduction
When I fell into step with my Dad’s journey with dementia, I did not have any idea where we were going, how we would get there, or what we would encounter. But we would travel together with attention to the moments that would arise along the way.
Dedicated to my family and to the grace that awakens in the heart of giving and receiving
profoundly inspiring and useful
Without a Map measures up to my sense of what makes a book not just good but superb. In Lisa Steele-Maley’s graceful prose—which is a joy to read—you see a fine mind and a loving heart at work. Her use of her frequent forays into the wilderness as a metaphor for her journey with her beloved father thru the thickets of Alzheimer’s disease gave me more guidance than I received from learning science-based “tips, tricks, and techniques” as I tried to accompany my mother on the same journey. And the take-away lessons to be learned from this real-life story are treasures in themselves. E.g., “Caring for, loving, and grieving for my Dad has heightened my resolve to live a life of intention and meaning”—the final lesson from a father who had already taught his daughter well. I finished the book with a more understanding heart, more courage (at age 80) to face into my own old age, and with a smile on my face: While it's true that there is no map for the perplexing journey with a loved one lost in Alzheimer’s disease, Lisa Steele-Maley in this beautiful book has provided us with a metaphorical map that I found profoundly inspiring and useful. I believe that you will, too.
Parker J. Palmer Author of On the Brink of Everything, Let your Life Speak and more
solidarity and hope
In Without a Map Lisa Steele-Maley invites us to pause, embrace our loved ones, and embrace the good that is in each moment as we come to accept the unknown together. Steele-Maley offers solidarity and hope, along with many examples of practical problem-solving, to anyone who is in a position to care for an aging parent or loved one. Her own walk with her father through the profoundly destabilizing experience of his illness and passing is recounted honestly, but Steele-Maley reminds us that caregiving can open us up to awe and reverence for the wonder that each lifetime really is.
Elizabeth Gibbons Capdevielle, PhD University Writing Program, University of Notre Dame
panoramic view of life
As a reader, you get a true sense of Steele-Maley’s evolution as she cares for her father through his dementia. Towards the book’s conclusion, each line written is more significant than the next. In the end, the author’s wilderness journey grants all of us with a panoramic view of life that honors the journey and not the destination. (Read full review here.)
Kimberly Luyckx Reader Views
the art of gentle companioning
In this courageous and important memoir, Lisa Steele-Maley guides us into the art of gentle companioning. Through the wilderness of loving and letting go, she provides a map and a compass: Show up. Be present.
Sherry Flint Inn Along the Way
for anyone caring for a loved one with dementia
Without a Map is an insightful and valuable description of what it’s like to be the long-term caregiver for someone with dementia. Told with candor and wit, it’s moving, enlightening, and a gripping account. I would highly recommend it for anyone caring for a loved one with dementia.
Dr. Barak Gaster Professor of Medicine, University of Washington
a rare, necessary and welcome light
A lifetime of wilderness experiences provides an exquisite frame and potent context for dementia’s unstoppable exhausting robbery. Lisa writes “If the fog lifted near midday, the sun was warm, but if the wind was blowing down the glacier, it carried the coolness of the ice with it. I often felt chilled to the bone beneath the warmth of my exertion that summer.” it perfectly describes multiple experiences that are forced together. This forcing of previously unrelated experiences sums up both the challenge and the opportunity that dementia provides for the caregiver. Her story provides a vivid description, so as to facilitate beneficial recognition and familiarity, but not so detailed that our individual experience is compromised or derailed. Lisa Steele-Maley’s book is a rare, necessary, and welcome light for a journey filled with darkness and confusion.
Watson Jordan Author of Mine, Ours, and Yours: A Father's Journey through the Life and Death of a Child
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