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Another Passage With Gail Sheehy

   Gail Sheehy has been writing about passages for most of her adult life. It started in 1976 when she published “Passages,” a look at the life cycles adults go through, and since then she has documented variations on the theme.

   Sheehy’s latest book, “Passages in Caregiving” just might be her most personal.

   The book is a compelling account of her years as caregiver, advocate, loving wife and sometimes, frustrated and angry spouse, to her husband, Clay Felker, who was diagnosed with throat cancer seven years after they married and fought the disease for 17 years before dying of pneumonia.

   The book is part resource guide, part how-to manual and part account of families across America struggling with an ailing parent or spouse. And from beginning to end Sheehy lays bare the long odyssey of her husband’s illness.

   According to the AARP, more than 50 million people in the United States are caregivers for adults. With two assisted-care facilities in less than a 10-mile radius of each other, and with brochures at Salisbury’s Town Hall that describe this area as a retirement community, it is safe to assume that quite a few residents in the Northwest Corner might be among those numbers. Cancer, a fall, a car accident, Alzheimer’s; any of a number of diagnoses can suddenly and completely change your life from an independent adult to a caregiver, nurse and helpmate. “Passages in Caregiving” is a must-read for anyone who counts themselves as one of those.

   Sheehy has written a short play, too, based on the book and her life with Felker. It will be performed as a benefit for the Northwest Center for Family Services on June 5. Sheehy’s friends Jill Clayburgh, Ed and Star Herrmann and Rick Trabucco will perform the reading at 5 p.m. in the Lakeville Methodist Church, followed by dinner and dancing in the tent next door. Still in rehearsals, with scripts in hand, the actors bring the drama vividly to life.

   Don’t miss the opportunity to see “Passages in Caregiving” on stage. And Sheehy will be on hand with copies of her book, a book you will definitely want in your home library.

   The CMHA Northwest Center for Family Services benefit is June 5. For tickets and information call: 860-435-2529.

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