Jack Stewart was a longtime editor at the New York Times. Linda was the U.S. representative of a French publishing consortium. Theirs was a marriage graced with good luck, a union from which each drew strength and joy in equal measure. In his early seventies, Jack opted for retirement but continued to work as a freelance editor and literary agent. The passing years were enriched by travel, strong family ties, and the delight of friendships.
Illness descended abruptly one October afternoon. Jack, awaking confused and disoriented from a nap, was rushed to the hospital. There the diagnosis was both swift and horrifying: Alzheimer's disease. It was a pronouncement that instantly overwhelmed all other considerations. Against her husband's loss of self-awareness, Linda quickly found she had no preparation, no defense. As his memory vanished, the essence of who he was vanished as well. 25 Months documents the struggle of a husband and wife to navigate the treacherous terrain of illness.
Alzheimer's is being diagnosed with ever-growing frequency. It is a disease of unknown origin, one that for now has no cure. The illness relentlessly and incrementally shreds personality and intellect. Yet every case is distinct, eliciting unique responses from both patient and caregiver. In those responses can be found the core of our character. The author describes the pain as well as the unexpected flashes of joy that came with caring for her failing husband. She describes as well the frustration of coping with a health care system that, despite benign intentions, seems woefully inadequate to meet the needs of Alzheimer's patients.