About the Book, I Will Never Forget

I Will Never Forget is the incredible true story of the author’s talented mother’s poignant and humorous journey through Dementia. From superb stories of Elaine's childhood, her controversial name, tales of smoking’ dragons, the feisty teenage years and a near paralyzing accident, her mother Betty Ward’s wonderful character is revealed.


Over time, as their relationship evolves and a new paradigm is formed, Betty begins to exhibit goofy actions, uncharacteristic verbal assaults and bizarre thinking. Although clearly mystified by her mother’s irrational behaviors, Elaine does not initially appreciate the extent of Betty’s mental decline. Her mother’s amazing ability to mask the truth clouds Elaine’s vision and prolongs her denial until one cataclysmic explosion of reality over an innocuous drapery rod launches a waterfall of destructive events.


As her mother’s brilliant mind is steadily destroyed by Dementia’s insatiable appetite for brain cells, Elaine accompanies her mother on her one-way journey through Alzheimer’s mystifying haze. Elaine cherishes her mother’s fascinating visions of her own mother, masterful Houdini-like disappearances and finally a stunning rally to take control of her own destiny.


I Will Never Forget is a heartwarming, humorous, honest and deeply moving story pertinent to everyone touched by the insidious effects of Dementia. Learn from Elaine's unwitting mistakes as she weaves her way through her mother’s unpredictable disease to capture insightful and effective intervention strategies.

Book Excerpts


EXCERPT: Chapter 4 - Horses, Trains and Automobiles

August 2007


My mom and I …. were returning on the Amtrak Train from a weekend in Chicago with my Aunt Dee, Mom's sister-in-law, my cousins and our extended family. I was certain this would be my mom’s last trip to Chicago, and, sadly, it was.


Our train trip over had been and fun and uneventful, but our trip back home was a real adventure! We had planned to meet up with my daughter Christie in Kalamazoo, but like many great plans, it fell apart, this one when the train broke down. The train was literally stuck on the tracks in a field of tall grass in the middle of nowhere. We sat there for about fifteen minutes, and then the train started up and chugged along until it quit a second time, then a third and a fourth, and every time there was literally nothing around us but green.


We were well over an hour behind schedule but on the fifth stop we were finally at a crossroads in a small town. I could see a Ford dealership, a gas station, and a diner. Then I noticed that some passengers were getting up, gathering their belongings, and exiting the train. I decided to do the same. My mom was a trouper and laughed as we schlepped our bags along the railroad tracks. The sight of a petite, eighty-three-year-old, white-haired woman dragging a wheeled suitcase had to have been hysterical, but we did it.


Of course, I thought we would grab a cab and pay whatever it cost to take us to Kalamazoo. It never crossed my mind that a town big enough to have a car dealership wouldn’t have cab service. Oops! But some very nice ladies at the local gas station offered to take us closer to our destination along I-94, where Mom and I waited just under an hour … before Christie met us there.


My mom talked about our great train escape for a while.


“I will never forget that train ride,” she would say. “That was really something.”


Ultimately, however, she did forget it, like virtually everything else.


EXCERPT: Chapter 33 - Precision Pitch and Pack

I envisioned the early stages of Mom’s dementia as a cunning, smoldering fire, its smoke whirling up and down, in and out, around and through her brain. Occasionally it would choke her orientation to time, sometimes cloud her vision or pretzel-twist her gray matter. It always lay in wait, concealed in the crevices of her short-term memory centers, fogging judgment, reasoning, and logic. For a while, it would remain dormant, having already ravaged parts of her mind permanently until, like wildfires, something sparked it to flare up, engulfing and consuming its insatiable appetite for brain cells. Mom would never get better. All I could do was be there for every step of her journey through hell and pray that was enough. She deserved better; everyone did. She deserved to go out with her boots on, not have her mind chipped and chiseled away piece by piece.