Word of the Week – 05/02/2016
Word of the Week – 05/02/16
Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen
Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen is an extensively revised version of Music to Move the Stars, first published by Macmillan in 1999. Jane Hawking’s memoir eloquently describes her life with Stephen Hawking and the significant impact that his illness had on the lives of her and their three children; Robert, Lucy and Tim.
Jane herself states that these memories may simply be seen to relate to the saga of an English family in the latter twentieth century. Indeed, much of it Jane feels would be quite ordinary, quite common to most if it were not for two factors: motor neurone disease and genius. What clearly struck me was the pervasiveness of chronic disease and how it affected and changed all aspects of life, be it relationships, family, friends, work, home or wider social activities and networks.
The book clearly describes how motor neurone disease affects the body and the clear impact on mobility, communication and all activities of daily living but this is not the strength of the book for me. Its strength is in how it depicts the experience of being a carer. Jane speaks of crushing responsibility and back-breaking physical strain.
In the UK over 1 million people say they are supporting or caring for family members who have a terminal illness. For each of them, as for Jane, their experience of caring is unique, but there is a clear commonality in the hidden costs of caring be they physical, emotional or financial.
I would strongly recommend this book to all as an insight in what it is to be a carer.
Would you recommend this book?
A resounding YES.
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