Return to Joy - The Book

Praise For Return to Joy …


Charlotte Parker and her younger sister, Virginia Parker, deftly weave abundant down-to-earth information about dementia into the fabric of daily and personal life. Through carefully compiled, objective information as well as freshly told anecdotal stories, the reader is instructed about the numerous signs of early, moderate, and late dementia, readers quickly learn not only about dementia but also about human nature at its most resilient and transformative. The authors set their reflections in the context of mythological reality, specifically in the realm of the great Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, the quintessential story of the mother-daughter relationship. Readers are enticed into an experience of the archetypal underpinnings of life as the authors present the myth, and their basic ideas about it, in lively and accessible language, weaving their reflections about these dynamics into their stories about their mother in a clear and straightforward manner. Anyone who has cared for, or may one day care for, another will find this book a welcome compendium of the trials, tribulations, and blessings of this formidable mission as well as a guide into how to access its rich psycho-spiritual potential. -Jacqueline West, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst, Co-Author of The Matrix and the Meaning of Character, Santa Fe, NM


“In the wake of their mother’s increasing dementia, sisters Charlotte and Virginia invite readers into the kaleidescopic landscape of the shifting mother-daughter relationship. Through moments of disquiet and chaos, old forms of knowing and relating are dismantled. As the sisters find themselves gradually stepping into caregiving roles, they come to see in their day-to-day reality a reflection of the ancient myth of Demeter and Persephone. Their story, with its hard-won recognition of how to cope with the practicalities of a mother’s lost freedoms and increasing dependence, summons readers to celebrate the beauty of acceptance of what is at hand, of forgiveness for what has been, and of joy encountered in meeting the spirit of a lost mother, returning as daughter. This book is a must-read for any and all whose lives have been touched by the specter of dementia.” - Carolyn M. Bates, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst


“This is a truly wonderful book. It has always been women's important task to bring spirit and soul into the matter of daily living. And here we have it in a family’s ability to find joy and transformation in a mother’s end-of-life dementia. Told simply and informatively, without denying the burden, it is a page-turner. Where will these two sisters, one mother and one husband end up and how does the ancient myth of Demeter and Persephone help? Don’t miss it this great read! -.Joan Buresh, Jungian Analyst, Santa Fe, NM


“Practical, personal and compelling—Return to Joy is an invaluable guide to dealing with the challenges- physical, psychological, and spiritual of dementia. This book is filled with practical information and creative strategies for negotiating the day-to-day challenges involved in caring for a loved one with this disorder. It includes resourceful and highly useful strategies for handling inevitable management problems, elucidates how to recognize the stages of dementia, gives direction about getting a proper diagnosis, interviewing caretakers, and more. The Parkers have written a moving guide for living with this challenging illness. Return to Joy is an invaluable guide for those caring for a loved one with dementia.” - Nancy Dougherty, M.S.W., LCSW, Jungian Analyst


“In Return to Joy, the Parker daughters realistically describe the descent of their Mother into the underworld where, having lost her memory, she lives now in the eternal Now. Their description is loving, informed, thoughtful, provocative, and of great value to all of us—whether we are presently dealing with the decline of a loved one or not. Their voyage touches all the islands of hope, despair, insight, frustration, and, finally, arrives home through a redemptive enlargement of loving consciousness.” - James Hollis, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst & Author


“…This is an unusual volume that is filled with a treasure chest of jewels, the jewels of role-flipping, emotion-laden paradoxes, and the glittering solace of spiritual grace and comfort. These jewels were revealed through the initiations of choice and celebration. … The most enduring gift to be taken away by readers of this book is the privilege of bearing witness to the rarest form of love beyond duty. This volume is a rare and true expression of moral beauty." -Stella Rodriquez, Ph.D., LLC, Family Therapist


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