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Parkinson’s Disease, chronic care, palliative care, family relationships, memoir, home care, caregiving

Notes of a Love Song
Day-to-Day with Parkinson's Disease by Claire Verney

When Claire Verney agreed to ‘for better or for worse, in sickness and in health’ she never imagined the journey that lay ahead of her. Her husband Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of forty-six. Notes of a Love Song chronicles their lives as Claire becomes her husband’s full-time caregiver and medical advocate as he struggles with the ravages of end-stage Parkinson's. It spans the final four years of Michael's life at home where he lived and died with dignity through the constant care and love of his wife. The author weaves her way through the history of her husband's disease while reflecting on her own history, her family and how all are deeply affected by this mercilessly degenerative disease. Told with warmth and humour, Notes of a Love Song offers a rare and timely glimpse into the realities of long-term care of parents and spouses, either in institutions or at home. It is written as a love story, a tribute, but is equally a how-to manual, imparting valuable medical information about Parkinson's Disease, dementia, palliative care and the importance of patient advocacy.

"Writing is a form of prayer and at its most profound, an act of love. Claire Verney has given such a gift twice over, once in sustaining the journey of Parkinson’s with her beloved Michael, and again in offering her experience to others that they might feel less alone. Claire writes with the searing honesty of one who has been through the crucible of care, her love, courage and faith tested over and over again. This is not an easy read but it is a deeply cathartic, truth-telling devotional."

Catherine Joyce, Author, "Finding Home"

"One of the great gifts of being a home care physician is the keen sense of grace and wonder I feel when patients and loved ones allow me to witness their pilgrimage. Claire Verney's exquisite rendering of her journey as a caregiver gives voice and colour to this sense of awe. To describe her story as a tale of service and love would not be untrue, but that would parse out Claire's deadpan humour as well as ignore the myriad emotions and poignant musings that trip through the pages so engagingly. This book reveals joy in unexpected places, adventure at every turn."

David Ian Gold MD

Claire Verney lives in her log home in Chelsea, Quebec. It is the house where she and Michael Torontow moved in 1989, just five years before his diagnosis and where he died peacefully in 2013. It is the house where their four children were raised and homeschooled. She now shares it with Rick Hughes whom she married in 2014. It is a house with much history, sorrow and joy. Claire now hikes, swims and snowshoes – sometimes with her two old and slightly demented dogs – enjoying a peaceful retirement and a loving family and community.


Claire Verney
Wendy Yeomans, M.D.

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