The Giant at My Back

“A year living in the shadow of dementia”

Carolyn Donnelly

ISBN: 9781912726431

176 Pages

Published Apr 2021


Paperback £9.99 Kindle £5.99
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When Carolyn’s husband Ralph was diagnosed with mixed dementia in spring 2017, she knew life for them would never be the same.

As she chronicles their first year living with this ‘giant’, Carolyn shares how her faith and their relationship were tested to the limit by loneliness and loss as she took on the role of Ralph’s carer. Yet we also see how God’s gracious promises gave her courage to confront the giant at their back, and even find joy and growth amidst both challenges faced and unexpected blessings received.

While everyone’s dementia journey is unique, this honest and poignant love story will resonate with many travelling the same path and help others to understand and offer support.

  • This book gives the reader an honest and moving account of a devoted carer coming to terms with her husband’s dementia. Carolyn shares her journey with us through the lens of her strong Christian faith. Using anecdotes drawn from her time as a missionary and her career in healthcare the author sheds light and even humour on the roller coaster of emotions she experiences. Throughout the journey she offers some profound reflections on the nature of life, marriage and faith. This heart-warming book will surely resonate with and encourage many in similar situations. It is an affirmation of marriage and of faith in the most difficult of circumstances.

    Liz Nicholls, Lay Canon in the Diocese of Blackburn
  • Carolyn paints a vivid and moving picture of her journey through the first year of her husband’s double dementia. With honesty and openness she describes the grief, guilt, isolation and loneliness of a shrinking world. Ralph’s deterioration was rapid and, in spite of a determination to be his full-time carer, Carolyn learnt to accept the help of family, friends and health professionals.

    While no two journeys are the same, anyone facing the challenge of caring for a loved one with dementia can’t fail to be moved by this story. It’s honest, passionate and revealing. It will enable many to face the giant at their own backs.

    Judith Wigley, former middle school teacher, author, children’s advisor and Christian bookseller
  • It was the smile that lingered most in our memory, following each visit with Ralph. A smile the reader will encounter often in this honest book. Your heart will be moved by the author’s description of her husband slipping into a world that was closed to her. Carolyn’s bold truthfulness in confessing her struggles in accepting Ralph’s diagnosis and all that followed will cause the reader to pause and ponder. Yet her devotion to Ralph never wavered, and her confidence in God remained steadfast.

    This is a book for all to read. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

    Kenneth Martin, Church Deacon

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