A Path Revealed is the story about a young family's sudden shift from a comfortable, middle-class American life into an alien world shaped and defined by Alzheimer's disease. Just days after turning 50, Martha Maddux was hit with this diagnosis. The news devastated her and husband Carlen.
But this is not a story about hopelessness. Rather, this story traces a path that emerged during their family's darkest hours, a path they did not foresee. Encouraged by a friend and Presbyterian minister, just after the diagnosis, Martha and Carlen drove from their home in Florida to visit a Catholic nun in Kentucky. This path first appeared among the hills and back roads there.
"As we were drawn into this twisting journey," says Carlen, "I scrambled for answers. I devoured scores of books, began writing what evolved into a 14-volume journal, flew halfway around the world to Australia, spent scores of weekends at a nearby monastery, and found myself all alone one week in Thomas Merton's cabin."
A Path Revealed is not an Alzheimer's guidebook or a self-help book. Plenty of those exist, many with good practical advice. Only a few books, though, explore the painful spiritual and emotional issues that are sure to surface with a crisis like Alzheimer's.
Martha and Carlen were forced to face the fallout from their own crisis. You or a loved one may be staring at a different crisis--cancer, stroke, job loss, diabetes, heart attack, home foreclosure, you name it. Regardless of the crisis, the potential for emotional and psychological upheaval--alienation, depression, fear, guilt, anxiety attacks, a cold numbness--is much the same for victim and family alike, for care-receiver and caregiver.
"Alzheimer's happens to be the context of our story, not its focus," says Carlen."Our story's focus is the spiritual path that emerged out of a threatening darkness."