Reverend Jim Solomon’s mother Amanda Tamer Solomon “is an awesome woman,” and she has Alzheimer’s, he said. Handling her illness has been hard. With his daughters’ encouragement, Mr Solomon recently wrote about his experience in caring for her.
His effort caught the attention of the Chicken Soup for the Soul editors through his friend Sophfronia Scott, a Sandy Hook resident who has also contributed to the popular series. His story, “Songs of Remembrance,” was select4ed for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living With Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias: 101 Stories of Caregiving, Coping and Compassion, released in stores and online April 22. Copies of the 400-page paperback are $14.95 each, while Kindle editions are $8.89 at Amazon.com.
The project is a joint effort with The Alzheimer’s Association, which will receive royalties for each book sold.
Mr Solomon’s daughter Amanda is named after his mother. His daughters — Amanda is a student at Newtown High School and younger daughter Ashley is a student at Newtown Middle School — girls “have been telling me to write a book for years,” Mr Solomon said. “They say I have special sayings, ‘Jimisms’ or ‘Daddyisms,’ that have helped them and they think could help others.”
Through Ms Scott, Mr Solomon said the Chicken Soup for the Soul editors “got wind of it and they contacted me. They fell in love with my story.”
His contribution to the book is a tale of coping with “losing” his mother to the disease.
The story’s title “came to mind while I was caring for my mom,” he said. She is still living in Massachusetts “but she is gone” mentally, he said. After Mr Solomon’s oldest sister Mary Ann died of cancer in recent years, he said, “that seems when the Alzheimer’s really progressed.”
His story is also one of hope.
Around the time of his sister’s death, he said, “I was really in deep need of encouragement.” Something he had read about Alzheimer’s “came to me,” he said.
People with Alzheimer’s will not remember faces, or names, or places, but they will remember music, he said.
“One day, I started singing songs that she sang to me as a little boy and she started singing along with me. That’s what made my day, but also my month and my year because in that moment I had my mother back,” he said.
Through his story, Mr Solomon hopes to help others caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
“The person they are caring for is still their loved one. Their situation may have changed but their soul has not, that’s what I keep saying,” he said. The person’s mind is not the same, “but their heart is.
“They are the same wonderful being and, my hope is that out of that realization they will make the most of the remaining years,” he added.
Amanda Solomon mother is originally from Trinidad. She has lived in the United States since 1958. Mr Solomon enjoyed sharing their story.
“Although it was difficult to share, I hoped it would bring comfort and even hope, along with some laughter — which is always good medicine — to others in similar circumstances,” he said. He has for years “felt that oftentimes our most effective service/ministry to others comes out of our deepest wounds, as God never wastes a hurt.”
A former businessman in Boston, Jim Solomon transitioned into vocational ministry through attending seminary in California in 1995. He currently serves as chaplain to the Newtown Police Department as well as senior pastor of New Hope Community Church, which meets at Newtown Meeting House. He and his family — his wife is Anne Solomon — have lived in Newtown for 16 years.
Mr Solomon also written The Living Water, Refreshing The Soul, a devotional book available through Amazon.com.