Reviews for Breakfast Memories

A Dementia Love Story
Kate Hanley
Self (82 pp.)
ISBN: 978-1-950584-16-1

Hanley tells the story of her mother’s dementia and her parents’ love in this affecting memoir.

Bernadette McDonough was heading to the beauty parlor when she forgot where she was. Peter, her husband of almost 55 years, found her walking aimlessly. Following a series of examinations, Bernadette was diagnosed with vascular dementia. The family watched her cognition decline; she struggled to remember what month it was. The author chronicles her parents’ courtship in 1940s Manhattan and marriage, detailing Peter’s grand romantic gestures, like placing a boulder outside their home into which he inscribed: “Come live with me, the best is yet to be.” At breakfast, he wrote poetry for his wife on a napkin. After Peter died, these simple, affectionate poems became a rare source of pleasure for Bernadette in her dementia; one reads: “THOUGH TIME / GOES FAST / AND PROBLEMS / COME TOO / MY LOVE / WILL LAST / AND ONLY / FOR YOU.” Illustrated with Peter’s napkin poems and family photographs, the memoir pays tribute to a couple’s enduring affection. Hanley’s depiction of caregiving will be recognizable to readers who’ve adopted similar roles; she likens herself to a sports spectator observing a competitive match between dementia and love: “Dementia had won the blue-ribbon prize physically—but my dad’s love, in poetic words, had beaten dementia at its own, unfair game.”

– Kirkus Reviews

I read this from the perspective of the work I do every day in helping those with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. I know how important it is that caregivers do not feel alone. Breakfast Memories—A Dementia Love Story will help daughters, sons, partners, therapists, and caregivers believe that many of the hard decisions, emotions, and days of exhaustion are not forgotten, but are in fact silently remembered. Kudos to Kate Hanley for bringing out a book that will touch and give hope to anyone working with or caring for someone with memory loss.

Alexis DonaldsonMental Health & Wellness Specialist

I cried through all 92 pages of the power of love that Kate reflects upon as a daughter watching her parents love story unfold and then as a daughter listening to her mom’s soul overpower the harshness of dementia in her final days of life. This book should be read by every son and daughter who loves their parents, by those dealing daily with dementia and by anyone who wants to read an authentic love story. Everyday I pray for a cure and prevention to dementia. Breakfast Memories—A Dementia Love Story will help achieve this end. Thank you.

Gail Matthews Author, Did I Die? Managing the Mayhem of Alzheimer’s, A caregiver’s Guide to Peace and Quality of Life Glenn and Gail Matthews friend of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund

I am so inspired by this book and its messaging of motherhood that after reading this simply beautiful book I stopped to see my dad, tended the graves of my mom and sister and stopped to see Nana in the nursing home.

Ann CapecelatroSpecial Education Teacher, daughter and mother

A powerful story of love, family, faith, and hope. As a son of Alzheimer’s, the beautifully crafted personal narrative drove home the cruel reality of dementia(s) and started an important dialogue in my mind. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have been in the shadows for far too long and Breakfast Memories—A  Dementia Love Story exemplifies the type of societal conversation we should be having about these diseases and their impact on patients (and families) long term. I’m fortunate to have read it. Bravo.

Matt PerrinPrimary caregiver for Mom, Care team member for father-in-law Steve, and Founder of Ro & Steve, Senior Care Reviews For You and By You.

Breakfast Memories—A Dementia Love Story, is a love story that is desperately needed in the world today as we struggle to search for medical answers for curing dementia.  Kate depicts the answers to seeking a cure with beautiful illustrations of the power of love between her mom and her dad, and with the ultimate witness of her mom’s love to her children.  Breakfast Memories—A Dementia Love Story offers real life testimony to the eternal power of love and the soul:  1- Corinthians 13:13,  And now these three remain Faith, Hope and Love, But the greatest of these is love.

Kit Parker