Now at Amazon and iBooks!

The Helen Chronicles: When Your Mother Falls Apart

Let’s try this GIANT image just for fun

My latest book, The HELEN CHRONICLES, (32,788 words) is now live at Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, the free Kindle app (see sidebar at that link) works with everything else. Even better for this Apple fanboy, it’s available on iBooks, too.

Behold the introduction from the book:

The HELEN CHRONICLES is an annotated, chronological collection of blog posts that tell the story of my mother’s chaotic last few years under the influence of dementia, Alzheimer’s, paranoia, schizophrenia, delusions, and hallucinations. (If that says “family” to you, you’re in the right place.) The events described took place between August 7, 2008, and April 7, 2012. My original accounts, no longer available online, were sometimes rough, emotional, and repetitive. Over the top is also fair. I’ve cleaned them up as best I can and added notes.

This is not the story of her life—that would be quite different—but the drama at the end, the clang and shudder of the final rolling train wreck, presented in real-time dispatches through the eyes of an oldest son who tried to do the right thing out of love and duty at great risk to himself. The reader should also know that for the thirty years preceding the time frame of this book, my adult relationship with Helen was difficult at best. There was never a single visit without a crisis or eruption in the first few hours. My father died in 1987. By August, 2008, however, when the action in this book begins, I hadn’t visited Helen for about five years, and she lived just six hundred miles away.

A few essential details did go missing at the time or had to be suppressed. Please see the epilogue, “The Untold Story of Helen’s Capture,” written especially for this book, to learn how touch and go it was. One way or the other, Helen made it impossible for us to help her, as if she’d really moved on years ago and left us with her shadow. We all did the best we could, and this is how it happened.

It makes a damned good story, too, one I hope never happens to you. If it already has, then at least you know you’re not alone. This is the thing I had to do before I could do anything else, and I want it public. It’s my way of saying good-bye to a whole bunch of things and hello to the unknown.

Blogging will recommence, and there are other things to write. I have a lot to say.

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John Hamilton Farr lives at 7,000 feet in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it, John is “a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” This JHFARR.COM site is the master writing archive. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page. For a complete list of all John’s writing, photography, NFTs, and social media links, please visit JHFARR.ART  

  • Joe July 6, 2014, 9:36 AM

    You hit home JHF. Just last week I was informed that I’m going to have to move from my little shack in this peaceful small town where I live and relocate to the big, crowded, polluted megapolis to live with and take care of my 104 year-old mother. But my mom is different from what yours went through. My mom’s mind is perfect, amazingly sharp but everything else is worn out. I think when/if I get up in years and near the end I don’t want to have a mind left. I don’t want to be like my mother, sharp mind but everything else is gone. I don’t want to know what’s happening to the rest of me.
    But I owe it to her to be there for her. The rest of my sorry family has taken almost everything she’s ever had so they don’t want anything to do with her now.
    She’s 104, it can’t be…

    • JHF July 6, 2014, 12:17 PM

      Hi Joe! I hear you. You’re lucky in this circumstance, for your mom to be “there” for you while you both face whatever comes next. Sorry to hear about the rest of your family. They’re going to miss out on something damned important.

      We couldn’t really share anything with Helen. The last few years of her life were one hell of a mess, and the decades preceding them were no picnic, either.

  • bethie July 7, 2014, 9:23 PM

    bought it. if you had a facebook link i’d share. xoxo hope you and Kathy are doing well! Ian and I are.

    • JHF July 7, 2014, 10:27 PM

      Bethie me dear! Glad to hear it. We’re fine, too. I’m finally learning to have a good time at this, so who knows what will happen next? Beautiful here now with afternoon storms.

  • terri o July 7, 2014, 9:57 PM

    I read it complete last night…and am still digesting. It reminded me of my family with a few twists and turns, so much. So raw and close to the rotten truth. I need to read it a couple more times before I can write an intelligent response to you, but thank you for excavating this family story of yours, for us.

    • JHF July 7, 2014, 10:52 PM

      Read it a couple more times? Watch out! 🙂 The editing process pulled me right back into it all. You’re very welcome, at any rate. “So raw and close to the rotten truth” would make a great Amazon review!

      There’s actually a bunch more to the whole Tucson saga, things that happened after Helen died, liquidating the last trailer and all. More archived blog posts, in other words, more stories. But I wanted this to be Helen’s chronicle. I also wanted it done, and one can take that any way one wants.

  • bethie July 8, 2014, 8:50 PM

    Best news I heard today is that you are having a good time. It would be so much fun to catch up sometime. We’ve started a new business to compliment our old business which has given life to this 61 year old…who would think it would be so much fun to take chances? I stand to loose everything. Whoopee!

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