I know the plot of Mail Escort, Book Three in the Haythen Construction Series is going to hit a sore spot for some people. The mere thought of taking a lover when your spouse is terminally ill, is repugnant to a lot of people.
So why write about it?
While researching dementia I came across a conversation string in an Alzheimer’s forum talking about the morality of starting a new relationship once your spouse no longer recognizes you.
Before you get horrified, like I did. Understand, the ailing spouse was never deserted. In fact, the basis of the new couple was to take care of person with dementia.
I started wondering, how does that work?
And then I started thinking about people that I know who have spouses with early-onset dementia. FYI, three off the top of my head, likely more who haven’t made it public yet. Each of the couples are in their mid-fifties, early sixties.
And, then I thought about my own risk of developing dementia. Would I want my partner to struggle alone, because of a vow I no longer remembered or understood.
Dementia is a long slow disease once diagnosed. If the person is otherwise healthy, they can live for over a decade, much of that without functional comprehension and memory. During their last 3 to 5 years, they are completely dependent upon their caregiver for daily activities, and eventually simple tasks like like dressing and toileting.
Many of the caregivers in this online conversation were wives, woefully out-sized and out-weighed by their husbands. Dementia is not always a gentle disease, sometimes those suffering become aggressive. The healthy spouse requires help and support.
Thus, the idea for Mail Escort came to be.
It’s a friend-to-lover story about a woman, struggling to care for her husband alone. He hasn’t recognized her in months. In fact, his childhood memories are the strongest and he often calls her Mama.
After an accident, a male friend through work steps in to help.
The story revolves around the definition of death, in the vow, “Til death do us part”.
One of my beta readers described it as a sweet love story in heartbreaking circumstances.