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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

Event: Founder's Place Presents "Shining a Light on Memory Loss" MOUNTAIN BROOK, AL: Aug. 27, 2019

Tue, Aug 27, 2019

St. Luke's Episcopal Church

MOUNTAIN BROOK AL | Aug 27, 2019 Tues 5:30 pm

Shining a Light on Memory Loss

Featuring Patti Callahan Henry Bestselling Author of The Favorite Daughter. This highly acclaimed new novel explores the power of memory and the meaning of family in the face of a dementia diagnosis.

Opening Remarks • Miller Piggott, MSW

Executive Director • Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama

Ticket Includes wine and cheese reception & signed copy of The Favorite Daughter


St. Luke's Episcopal Church

3736 Montrose Road

Mountain Brook, AL 35213


About Founders Place

Founders Place is an adult respite ministry that provides a safe and caring environment for adults living with dementia and other cognitive issues. Founders Place will provide quality programming for participants, caregiver respite and engaging volunteer opportunities. Read More


About Alzheimer's of Central Alabama

Established in 1991, Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama is a local organization helping local families. ACA serves 21 counties across central Alabama. 100% of the money we raise stays in Alabama. Read More


About The Favorite Daughter

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop at Water’s End, here is a lush, heart-wrenching novel about the power of memory, the meaning of family, and learning to forgive.

Ten years ago, Lena Donohue experienced a wedding-day betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina, and reinvented herself in New York City. Though now a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home—until she learns of her dad’s failing health.

Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade and the brother who runs the family’s Irish pub and has borne the burden of his sisters’ rift. While Alzheimer’s slowly steals their father’s memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs. As his secret past brings Lena’s own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home. Read More


Patti Callahan Henry Reflects on the Poignancy of Memory

Life is made up of thousands of memories, if not millions. The smell of a favorite childhood landscape. The touch of a loved one’s hand. The sound of a lover’s whisper. The sight of a baby’s smile. The ache of loss and heartbreak.

Do such memories define us? They often seem to, and yet – what is a memory?

Amorphous connections inside the brain? Electrochemical signals? Synapses connecting with the patterns of things that have happened to us? These are – of course – questions that don’t have a fully satisfactory answer. What we do know is that when someone we love begins to lose their memories, it hurts. Though they might sit there in a familiar chair, in a familiar house, with their body alive and well, their life seems to be fading away. We feel confused and disconnected. We feel as if we don’t know them or as if they don’t know us. It’s painful.

Dr. Pauline Boss has a term for the pain we feel in this: ambiguous loss. She writes, “Human relationships are ruptured indefinitely by ambiguous loss.” Rupture. That’s a powerful word. And yet, when someone we love suffers from Alzheimer’s, that loved one is simultaneously present and absent. These dueling facts pull us in opposite directions. Have we lost them or not? Is it fair to mourn someone who is still alive? The questions go on and on.

When the plaques and tangles of Alzheimer’s take over a mind they destroy the very connections that we’ve spent a lifetime making. It is the cruelest fate. How do we explain such a thing? John O’Donohue – the Irish poet and philosopher – spoke of such questions as lanterns, illuminating a path forward. I believe that. And I believe that the questions we ask about memory and memory-loss are lantern lights, guiding our path toward healing, understanding, prevention, and a possible cure.

When I use the lantern of question, I often discover a story. Story helps make sense of the senseless, and can provide meaning in tragedy. Stories are our family legends, our beliefs, our myths. We share such stories in community and read them privately. Either way, the unique power of story can both help and heal as we journey through the maze of Alzheimer’s and memory-loss.

Related Blog Post


About The Author

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction), BECOMING MRS. LEWIS—The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. Now a USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly, and The Globe and Mail bestseller. (writing as Patti Callahan)

Her latest novel, THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER, (Southern Contemporary Fiction) was released June 4, 2019, and is available now.

A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband. Read More

Related Blog Post: Patti Partners with Women's Alzheimer's Movement



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