Don’t Leave Yet, How My Mother’s Alzheimer’s Opened My Heart is Constance Hanstedt’s journey toward independence, self-assurance, and connectedness as she cares for her mother who begins losing her identity through Alzheimer’s.
As a young girl in the Midwest, Constance was consumed by fear: of her parents, especially her disapproving mother, and of social situations. Along with a denigrating Catholic school experience, she embraced perfectionism as a substitute for love.
Just as she struggled to be a perfect child, Constance tried to be the perfect adult daughter when her mother, who lived two thousand miles away, developed Alzheimer’s. Constance was forced to confront her fears.
As Don’t Leave Yet recounts her mother’s unrelenting bitterness toward life coupled with her losing memories of it, Constance discovers something beyond familial duty: compassion. After all, she states, “I knew a thing or two about fear.”