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Reviewed by Janet Jensen for Readers' Favorite
Brilliant, eccentric, and charming are just a few words that begin to describe Romanian immigrant and educator Dr. Edward Theodoru,Ph. D., otherwise known as Ed, the man author Marie Marley calls her best friend and the love of her life. "Ed and I were lovers and lived together for three years...then we broke up but became inseparable friends," she writes. "Life Partners. Soul mates."
"Ed was a true Renaissance man, as were many Europeans of his generation, but he stood out among them because his memory was phenomenal. It was his most distinguishing feature. He'd remember everything he read, heard, or saw. It was that simple. We’d typically refer to such people as 'walking encyclopedias,' but Ed was more. Far more. Ed was a walking library...But all that would fade into darkness when Alzheimer's overtook him. I was grateful at least that he didn't suffer. As it turned out he never knew he'd lost anything."
Come Back Early Today chronicles Ed's gradual descent into dementia, accompanied by Marie's denial and growing agony as she tries to assist him in everyday matters, which become far more serious, demanding and long-term as his condition worsens. Eventually she convinces him to move to a care facility where he is treated with compassion and skill by the exceptional professionals on staff.
Chapter One begins: "A Rude Awakening" and we are plunged immediately into Ed’s increasingly erratic behavior; This time he’s been driving on the wrong side of the road. Eventually he will forget what a kitchen is.
Ed’s behavior patterns will resonate with any one of the fifteen million Americans who are providing care to an individual whose mind is being slowly eroded by the insidious progression of Alzheimer’s. The toll this disease takes on loved ones is incalculable: physical and mental health, employment and finances are all affected. Fortunately, Ed had the means to cover his care, and a devoted friend who saw that he received it. Many Americans lack the resources needed to deal with this cruel disease, and it’s a problem that is only increasing with longer life expectancy.
"Come Back Early Today" is a truly moving account of love and loyalty, and it also provides highly insightful information for caregivers. I recommend this book as a lovely memoir, and also as a guide for anyone dealing with this cruel disease. Above all, it is a tribute to a remarkable and unforgettable man, who still knew and expressed joy even on the last day of his life.