In 1997, Carlen Maddux was a journalist and editor and working on a newly launched business journalism venture. His wife Martha was active in local Florida politics and had herself been elected to the St. Petersburg City Council. They had three children, two in their 20s and the youngest still at home in high school.
That year, the Maddux family learned that Martha, at age 50, had early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The forgetfulness had been noticed by the family for some time, but it could have been attributable to the rather hectic schedule Martha kept. What Carlen had really noticed was her failure to grasp a question in a political debate – that had never happened before.
And so, Carlen and Martha, both raised Protestant, went searching for how to deal with what was happening, and what would continue to happen. What they would find themselves embarking upon was a spiritual journey, and it would become a different spiritual journey for each of them.
A Path Revealed: How Hope, Love and Joy Found Us Deep in a Maze Called Alzheimer’s is Carlen’s account of those journeys. It would lead them to resources outside their own Protestant faith, primarily because other faith traditions have been in existence longer and have a deeper understanding of suffering.
This is a journey about pain and suffering, and how God found both Carlen and Martha in the midst of it. They learn much about themselves, and about the need for forgiveness. And they learn to find God in the middle of a disease that destroys memory and personality.
A Path Revealed is a story about a dreaded disease, and it is also a story about hope. The Madduxes have to face pain, anger, frustration, exhaustion, and everything else that comes with Alzheimer’s. But they learn how to face it with love, hope, and courage. You know how the story ends, but you don’t know how two people got to that ending.
It’s a story that will reduce you to tears and lift your heart.
Photograph by Rajesh Misra via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.