ALS caregiver’s journal turns into her 11th book

It’s a book that’s near and dear to her heart.

Author Alison Acheson will launch her 11th book locally on Saturday, Oct. 19 with a signing at Ladner’s Black Bond Books from noon to 3 p.m.

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Dance Me to the End is a memoir of caregiving for her spouse Marty. At 57, Marty was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Ten months and 10 days later, he passed away.

From day one of his diagnosis, Acheson, who was married to Marty for 25 years, kept a journal to cope with the overwhelming state of mind and soul. As her thoughts flowed from pen to page, her notes composed the story of his diagnosis, illness and his decline. Soon her journal became a canticle of caregiving and the delicate dance between the intuitive and the pragmatic, the logical and the illogical, and the all-consuming demands of being both spouse and nurse.

“When Marty was sick I was desperately looking for something to read, especially in the last five months or so because I was so housebound,” Acheson recalled. “ALS is supposed to be two to five years, but in his case it was really quick. This book feels really connected to the community as the community did so much fundraising and food and oh my… so much... for us. South Delta was amazing through that time. I’m hoping others find it useful in some way.”

Known as Guitar Marty, her late husband was a well-loved music instructor in South Delta.

“You go through something and you feel like you are the only one going through this, so again, I’m hoping people will get a lot out of the story.”

In June, Acheson launched her 10th book in Ladner with a signing event at Black Bond Books.

A Little House in a Big Place began with a train ride and a question about what it means to connect with another human being even if they never learn your name or meet face-to-face. Those childhood waves to train engineers — can they change a life?

Acheson grew up in Tsawwassen and lived in Ladner for more than two dozen years. She now lives in Vancouver.

“It’s unusual to launch two books so close together. It’s been a busy year,” she said. “I’ll have both books on hand for my signing in October at Black Bond. Dance Me to the End just received a great review from Library Journal in the (United) States, so that was nice to see. A Little House in a Big Place is also doing well for a ‘quiet’ book. People get caught up in the magic of it and the child jumping on the trail and going on a journey.”

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