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Friday, February 14, 2014

It’s never too late to become a writer: Yvonne Hammonds story of living with her husband Don’s dementia

Yvonne Hammond is a student who participant in a writing family history group I facilitated in the Northern Rivers in the 2000s…she was then in her 80s and said that writing the stories of her life and her family had become one of  the most joyful  acts of her life.  Yvonne became a friend and over the years since we have met and corresponded and talked about writing, life, love and the universe…….In my 2007 book Writing Family History Made Very Easy  I have an excerpt from Yvonne’s story of her mother titled ‘Cradle to the Grave’ (pp.12-13), as an example of a strong imaginative framework and  good use of dialogue Yvonne uses  in the re-creating of the conversations of her childhood and youth all done  with a lightness, deftness and skill rarely found in most family history.  

Yvonne was 83 when she wrote that story.  Now at age 91 Yvonne has written a personal story of her experiences caring for her husband Don from the onset of his dementia in 2002 until he passed away aged 91 in 2012. In that time Yvonne also dealt with several major operations herself including a serious fall and broken bones just after losing Don necessitating a long stint in hospital and then rehabilitation. But in all that time Yvonne showed courage and humour as well as real  toughness in dealing  with whatever came her way.

In her writing of The Challenging Journey (her story of Don and her and a journey of love, compassion and much else) there is humour, irony, poignancy and a wonderful sense of love and the frailty of the human condition.  And there is compassion and caring. 

You can read an interview of Yvonne Hammond in the Ballina Shire Advocate as follows:
Article from Ballina Shire Advocate 5 Feb 2014 Yvonne Hammond talking about her book

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