One beautiful aspect of A HOME FOR ALL OF US by Nancy Lorraine is how this memoir resounds with a quiet, steady heartbeat of perseverance in the face of an almost unfathomable series of traumatic events, each one of which on their own might be more than enough to shake anyone else right down to their core. Marrying and creating a family with one’s tall, handsome college sweetheart is a dream come true, until an accident leaves the narrator’s husband unable to care for himself. Yet there are blessings amidst this tragedy. Adam comes out of the coma and remains part of his family for another 12 ½ years. He is happiest when at home surrounded by loved ones–though the years are fraught with hospital wards, residential care homes and the hiring of numerous caregivers–some of whom are helpful, some of whom embezzle and some who don’t always bother to call when not showing up. This means the tending of Adam–including bathing his 6 feet 4 inch, 250 pound frame and getting it in and out of a wheelchair–not infrequently falls to his wife and children. Compounding the difficulties of this set of circumstances is a pair of in-laws who sue for custodial rights (though they hardly visit), yet would prefer to be in control of their adult son’s care and finances, including whatever settlement money the insurance company provides. Add to this the eventual illness that later befalls one of the children, requiring serious medical care.
Readers might think it would all be too much to bear. However, with dexterous grace, the deep love and dedication these individuals feel towards one another outshines every painful incident. Most surprising and heartening is when the narrator finds genuine love again with Michael, who moves into the family home, gets along with Adam, and is more than willing to pitch in on his care–to the point of changing adult-diapers for the years Adam is still alive–while his brain degenerates to a state more typically found in 85-year-old Alzheimer patients. The few flaws in the book could be easily corrected, such as a striking black/white photo near the end that runs awkwardly off page. Overall, what minor imperfections exist pale next to the commitment consistently expressed by the story, as exemplified with particular eloquence in the eventual eulogy delivered by one of Adam’s children.
For those who believes in unconditional love, A HOME FOR ALL OF US by Nancy Lorraine is an exceptional and bittersweet tale of long-term devotion under extraordinarily trying circumstances.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader