Sally Hughes Smith
Available through: www.Amazon.com
|About the Author: Sally Smith was born in Memphis, Tennessee, graduated from Duke University with a major in English and a focus in art, and has taken continuing education classes and workshops intermittently. Along the years she has had such diverse careers as: Chief Librarian of Duke University Chemistry Library, a fashion model, and a career in historic restoration. Her works are in corporate and private collections in over 200 cities across the United States and abroad. Sally wrote The Circle in an attempt to journal the events leading up to placing her mother who has developed severe dementia in a nursing home. Though dementia and Alzheimer's has much interest in our times, there has been little guidance for families dealing with this illness. Thus here lies The Circle. Sally lives in Charleston where she and her husband have reared their four children.|
August 06, 2008
I am sitting on the porch with my friend, Sally Hughes Smith — wife, mother of four, artist, and author. We are talking about family, love, death — art and the art of living — the things that really matter to every civilized human on the planet.
Sally’s oil paintings are worthy of a coffee-table tome, but I wanted to talk about a slender volume she recently wrote, The Circle, in which she chronicled her family’s journey as they helped Sally’s Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, now 96, move from the family home to a residential-care facility.
The book was Sally’s private journal, but friends and family convinced her to publish it. She teamed up with the Medical University of South Carolina’s Center on Aging and is donating all book proceeds to the university’s research on age-related disease. She’s also now on the speaking circuit and conducting podcast interviews.
Anyone entering the world of Alzheimer’s and dementia would find inspiration in Sally’s beautifully written diary, but the book isn’t only about living with a relative in mental decline. It’s about life’s journey, the passage of time and the choices we make — from how we tackle the daily trials to how we navigate that big lonesome valley.
The message in the bottle is: “We’re all on the same journey, you can choose to do it with joy,” says Sally. “You’re going to walk it anyway, so you may as well enjoy it.”
It’s all the same thing, she says. Life and death, yin and yang, mother to child, child to mother, the circle.
Sally’s story is everybody’s and the revelations she experienced are both universal and timeless. Revelations, after all, are merely truths waiting to be remembered.
Here’s the big one. As she packed up her childhood home and bid a final farewell to all the sights, smells, and sounds she treasured, Sally suddenly realized that it wasn’t about the house.
“It was about the relationships I was inheriting.”
The family, in other words.
The family is what gives our life meaning and makes our nation strong. The family is also what keeps government at a respectful distance — working for us and not the other way around.
All our political choices should be made in the service of that understanding. That’s all. And we’ve got work to do.
— Kathleen Parker is author of Save the Males.
© 2008, Washington Post Writers Group
Comments from readers of " The Circle"
“Sally Hughes Smith’s deeply affecting The Circle traces a journey most of us have taken, or will. It’s all here: the heartbreak, the helplessness, the anger, the guilt, and the moments of sheer Marx Brothers hilarity. Smith can’t change the route of our journeys, but she can go with us, arm around our shoulders. A generous and comforting book.”
- Anne Rivers Siddons, New York Times bestselling author of Colony, Peachtree Road, Islands, and Low Country
“What will make Sally Smith’s The Circle so valuable to readers with aging parents is its rush of love—her exuberant, poignant, honest outpouring of affection and memory. And for all readers, The Circle is an eye-opening glimpse into the heart of a big, energetic, loving family fighting not to disappear.”
- Josephine Humphreys, author of Rich in Love (made into a major motion picture), Dreams of Sleep, and Nowhere Else on Earth
“Sally’s journal gives each age a perception of the changes to come. How precious is one’s family. Each generation takes its place in this wonderful journey called life. As ‘the circle’ closes may it end in peace and the joys of love.”
- Mrs. William C. Westmoreland
“An eloquent and powerfully written small book, The Circle is a true story of one family’s struggle with Alzheimer’s and a loved one. I highly recommend it as a voice in this much needed sector.”
- Zaven Khachaturian, Ph.D., former Director of the Office of Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Associate Director for the Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging Program at the National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Health
“Sally Hughes Smith’s moving account of one family’s profound transition as they face their mother’s dementia is surprisingly hopeful. Filled with honest emotions and personal details, The Circle is an inside look at a journey most of us dread. Ms. Smith shows us how to do it right!”
- Marjory Wentworth, Poet Laureate of South Carolina
“I had the pleasure of reading Sally Smith’s The Circle. I’ve read a number of narratives describing the experiences of children and spouses who have cared for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and I found Sally Smith’s story to be unique in several ways. Clearly, this is written from the perspective of a child who had a close relationship with her mother and siblings, but most important, it presents both the challenges and experiences in an appropriately positive way. It doesn’t downplay the difficulties nor does it present issues in a saccharin manner. Rather, it illustrates that caregiving and decision making for a person with progressive dementia has both light and dark moments, challenges and benefits, tears and laughter.”
- Peter V. Rabins, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University
“Poignant and direct, beautiful and honest, The Circle brims with universal themes and generosity of spirit.”
- Barbara G.S. Hagerty, author of Purse Universe and Handbags
Ø Available from: www.Amazon.com