Saskatchewan, Canada-based author and observer, Ryshia Kennie, writes a moving account of an active and feisty mother with Alzheimer’s in The Tears We Never Cried.
The reader is drawn into a story that accurately describes caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Although Tears is a fictional account, Kennie closely watched her mom care for her father with Alzheimer’s.
The narrator in The Tears We Never Cried is the only child and daughter of an active and strong-willed woman with Alzheimer’s. Daughter, Cassie feels vulnerable as her life transitions from her own career to caring for her mom. She tries to control the situation and blurts out things frequently followed by immediate regret.
Her mom, Jess, is an active woman who loves to dance. Cass, not as much.
Cassie Lynn, as her mom sometimes calls her, focuses on caring for her mom.
When Cass finds her mom’s diary, she begins doubting that the man who raised her before walking out on her and her mother, is her biological father. She begins asking who is the Latino, named Fidel that Jess refers to?
Meanwhile, Cass discovers unconditional kindness and concern from a childhood friend. Russ was destined to be a hockey player and instead chose to be a police officer (like Kennie’s father in real life). While Cass didn’t have much of an interest in Russ during their school years, she sees that he is now quite handsome. Her heart longs for Russ, yet she resists in order to focus on caring for her mother.
Despite her declining cognitive ability, Jess is an adventurer. Kennie in real life loves to travel too when she’s not researching travel destinations around the world. Jess, wants to visit Cuba. Cass is all for it so they can escape the cold Canadian winter. Jess hopes to see Fidel. The reader is left wondering, who is Fidel? When her mom wants to go snorkeling, Cass is terrified. Knowing her mother does what she wants and lives with Alzheimer’s, Cass must do something.
After they return home from Cuba, questions still remain about Fidel and her father’s identity.
The Tears We Never Cried inspires caregivers with one family’s realistic portrayal of caregiving for a person with dementia. The story provides an adventurous escape.
In the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Kennie shares how she came to write, The Tears We Never Cried. “The inspiration to write such a story came from my father’s long struggle with Alzheimer’s and my mother’s dedicated caregiving of him. I imagined how different things would be if there were no spouse, if there were no other siblings.”