The Journey Home: Portraits of Healing is a memoir narrated through 35 engaging vignettes involving the renewal of a son’s relationship with his parents during their final year of life. Using amplified recollections (including of the author’s time in the Peace Corps), vivid dreams, and impressionistic illustrations, The Journey Home leads the reader on a personal pilgrimage of discovery and healing.
Starting with the onset of his mother’s Alzheimer’s and proceeding through the eventual admission of both his parents’ to a nursing home and their eventual passing, The Journey Home explores the complex and intimate process of evolving relationships in the final passage of life.
The novel is divided into four metaphorical parts, corresponding to phases of a “rasa yatra,” or “destined life journey”:
- entering into an unknown domain,
- listening to voices from the past for clues to this new world,
- connecting with guides who will help heal past wounds and offer new pathways,
- coming home to one’s true calling, embarking on a future with a fresh understanding of heredity and freedom.
Immersing the reader in the experience of caring for someone facing physical decline and dementia, this novel offers encouragement for all caregivers of the elderly. Told with warmth and humor, each vignette invites the reader to understand the bittersweet emotions that are part of grieving and healing. Through making honest connections with the past and present, the journey narrative demonstrates how life-altering challenges can be faced with openness, dignity, and grace.
Writing under the pen name Gabriel Bron, the author Michael Rost is a linguist, specializing in psycholinguistics, language acquisition, language loss, and use of language systems in dementia. For the past 30 years, following his service in the Peace Corps (Togo) as a high school teacher, he has worked on applied linguistics projects for universities and government institutions, and has authored numerous articles and books on language use. Formerly a professor of linguistics, he currently lives in San Francisco as an independent scholar and author.