I am excited to share with you my review of One Yellow Door: A Memoir of Love and Loss, Faith and Infidelity by my friend Rebecca de Saintonge. Rebecca, co-founder of LifeLines Press is an author, biographer, editor and mentor to new writers. Learn more about Rebecca at Exploring Belief.
“The contemplative enters into God to be created. What a terrifying concept, to willingly allow yourself to be created, re-created, by the God who is silent in the face of disintegration.” Rebecca de Saintonge begins One Yellow Door: A Memoir of Love and Loss, Faith and Infidelity with this powerful statement.
One Yellow Door is a memoir filled with love, loss, faith, tragedy, laughter. Rebecca reveals that life is often lived within the tension of paradox.
In One Yellow Door we discover how Rebecca coped after her husband Jack was diagnosed with Diffuse Cortical Lewy Body Disease (DLB). DLB is the second most common senile degenerative dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.
Diffuse Cortical Lewy Body Disease
Patients suffer repeated falls, fainting, slowness of movement, stiffness and tremor. This disease affects language, the ability to carry out simple actions, to judge distance and the ability to reason.
There is no cure for Lewy body disease and it usually ends in death, it often progresses more quickly than Alzheimer’s. “So now, my love, I know the worst. Your brain is shrinking inside your skull. You are going to disintegrate very slowly, mind and body.”
My father passed away in November of 2014 from complications of Alzheimer’s. Rebecca’s story resembled much of what my mother and sister experienced. They were my Dad’s caretakers for many years until it became physically and mentally too difficult and Dad was moved to the VA Home. As I read her memoir, I watched, felt, experienced her story.
Rebecca fought to thrive and survive within the new space that this debilitating disease placed both she and her husband in. “I was determined to live positively within our diminishing space, because diminishing it was.” Rebecca lived within the tension of this new space and the old space she desperately wanted to hold onto.
Just when her husband might make a comment that the old Jack would make he would also suffer from the inability to engage in the daily communication we all take for granted. “Now he sits in this straitjacket of silence, unable to think fast enough to join in. Unable, so often, even to find the words.”
Rebecca rode an emotional roller coaster. She wanted to give up and die yet her will to live was stronger. “Part of me wants us both to die. Yet it’s almost frightening how much I want to survive.” She marveled at her husband’s inner strength. “For me one of the most painful aspects of his suffering was the patience with which he bore it. It tore my heart out.”
She was brought to the point of emptiness and exhaustion. “Because I cannot bear it. Because I have no more to give.” She finally resolved that the only way to survive was to live on auto-pilot. “And now I must move into auto-pilot and love my broken man with all my power.”
New Understanding of the Divine
As she struggled to manage life after the diagnosis of this terrible disease she lamented. I think all of us do. I know I do. God seems to patiently listen. “You promised to be with us. You promised your peace, your underlying peace, in all circumstances. WHERE IS YOUR PEACE NOW, YOU BASTARD?”
Rebecca’s experience forced her to come to a new understanding of the Divine. She needed to find a new way to think about and comprehend the Divine. She desired to find new language, or even a wordless expression for the Divine.
Please do read One Yellow Door by Rebecca de Saintonge. I hope you discover something that resonates with your life, how you think about and experience God or how you live within the tension and paradox that life seems to throw at us. Enjoy One Yellow Door! I did!
One Yellow Door: A memoir of love and loss, faith and infidelity by Rebecca de Saintonge
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