The Comfort of Books–A Three Dog Life

Today while I was working on a database I listened to one of the University of Minnesota Bookstore Author Events. It was a talk and reading by Abigail Thomas. The reading was from A Three Dog Life.

The book recounts Abigail’s experience as the spouse of an individual who sustained a traumatic brain injury. It is written with such honesty and humor, I felt like I was sitting with a friend having a discussion over coffee. Or in my case a cup of chocolate.

After listening to Abigail, I ordered a copy for my Mom. The last few years of my Dad’s life were a challenge for her. He had several surgeries, some dementia, and spent his last months in an extended care facility. It occurred to me that Abigail’s journey and words might be of some help to Mom during her grieving process.

This is a photo of my copy of A Three Dog Life. Can you tell how much I loved the book?

A Three Dog Life

Some of the pages are folded at top and bottom, and on both sides. And there are underlined passages as well.

These are a few of my favorite passages–

The past gets swallowed up in the extraordinary circumstances of now. p16

Rich spoke in mysteries. It was as if he were now connected to some vast reservoir of wisdom, available only to those whose brains have been altered, a reservoir unencumbered by personality, quirks, history, habits… p17

I can’t find the place that matches my memory. p27

Dogs are never in a bad mood over something you said at breakfast. Dogs never sniff at the husks of old conversations… p75

I kept forgetting the fact that I actually couldn’t take care of him. My terror obscured the truth: no single person, no two people could have taken care of a man in Rich’s condition. Why then did I feel so ashamed? What standard do we women hold ourselves to? After all these years I can finally say the words I want to live my life without feeling unnatural, selfish, cowardly. p115

I’m employed by a software company that produces projects for “language, learning, and speech,” which includes projects for TBI. My interest in brain injury began when my nephew suffered an injury when he was 18 months old. I had seriously considered a career in art therapy, but after researching it three times during various stages of my life I realized it wasn’t a good fit for me. Art should be used for expression not as a diagnostic tool.

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