Introducing my new Book

Walking Mama Home

A Caregiver’s Journey

Following my dad’s death in 2015, I took on primary responsibility for my mother’s care. It all happened suddenly, and I had no idea what I was doing. For the next six years, Mama and I made precious memories together, but the convergence of the COVID pandemic and her accelerating dementia swept us into deep water. This memoir is a candid look at the joys and hardships of caring for a parent at the end of life. Ultimately, I hope you’ll find it a testimony to grace.

From the Back Cover

“Three traumatic events in a matter of weeks jolted Aileen Gronewold from career professional to amateur caregiver. For the next six years and countless episodes of The Lawrence Welk Show, she learned the art of caregiving in times both tender and difficult. As her mother’s dementia deepened, she began navigating the Long Goodbye while struggling to balance her marriage, sibling conflicts, and her own loss of identity.

Walking Mama Home reveals both the joys and sacrifices of caring for a parent at the end of life. This moving narrative celebrates the strength of family and unconditional love, even as it offers abundant grace for mistakes along the way.

Aileen writes with candor and compassion to encourage those navigating their own caregiving journey.”

Excerpt from the Book…

“As hard as today may be, I lived with the ever-present reality that tomorrow would be harder yet. When the Psalmist speaks of the “valley of the shadow of death,” it isn’t death itself that weighs on his mind. It’s the looming shadow of death, that intangible and unassailable foe, that dogs his every step. It was coming, but not yet. Maybe today. Maybe two years from now.

All signs indicated Mom’s body would outlast her mind. What would that look like? I didn’t know. When the light in her eyes had faded to dark, would her lungs still accept air, her throat still open for sustenance, her heart still beat out of habit? A deep anguish rose in me.”

Aileen Gronewold in her sunroom

Why I wrote “Walking Mama Home”

“You may come away from this book with some practical ideas, or perhaps an “aha” moment of insight. Good. Or, just as likely, our experience may serve as a cautionary tale of what not to do. Again, good.

But this is not a how-to book. Instead, it’s a “we too” book. I’m telling our story with the hope it will make you feel less alone on your own journey. Walking a parent through the final chapter of life is lonely and terrifying, even under the best circumstances. If this book enables me to walk alongside you for part of that journey, it would be my privilege.”

Aileen

Walking Mama Home

A Caregiver’s Journey