When Jann Arden first wrote on Facebook about mother's experience with Alzheimer's, she didn't expect it might lead to her next book.
She was venting her frustration and fear as her mother Joan’s memory worsened and personality changed.
"If I didn't have help I would sink so far down I'd never come up again," she wrote on Facebook in July of last year.
Overnight, Arden's post received thousands of comments and an outpouring of support from Facebook users sharing their own experiences caring for people with the disease.
This month, the singer-songwriter and author released her latest book titled Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss. The book features diary entries, family photos and recipes Arden cooks at her mother’s home across the street form Arden’s in rural Alberta. The book details Arden’s journey accepting what those who have experienced caring for people with Alzheimer's sometimes call "the long goodbye."
"It really is heartbreaking," she said on CTV's Your Morning. "I always liken it to cutting a dog's tail off an inch at a time. It's not fun for the dog and it's not fun for you."
Her mom, she said, has become a "stranger" to her.
"I know what the hideous road of Alzheimer's looks like," she said. "My grandmother had it and my mom is walking in those same footsteps."
Arden moved in near her parents in Alberta when her father Derrel’s dementia worsened. Her father died in 2015, and just two days later, her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. As Arden puts it in the new book, she became parent to her own parent.
"I am a mother to my mother," she writes. "It's a massive learning curve, not only because I didn't have children of my own, but because there isn't a handbook telling me what I should or shouldn't be doing. Alzheimer's is a different disease for every single person it inhabits. Everything is trial by fire."
Arden has learned to not get frustrated by her mother's memory lapses, or attempt to correct her when she is forgetful.
She goes where mom goes now. One moment recently, her mother said there were a dozen people on Arden's balcony with orange hats. "I just said, 'Well, you think they could pick up a broom, mom, and get cleaning over there,'" she recalled on CTV's Your Morning.
Arden's new book also showcases the power of food in her relationship with her mother. After moving in near her parents, monthly cooked meals turned into daily cooked meals.
"There is something about feeding people you care about that is extremely comforting for both of you," she writes in the book, which features personal recipes from Arden.
As her mother's memory declines and personality changes, Arden says much of the struggle is about coping with where the Alzheimer's road takes them both.
"I feel like I've resigned myself to really treasuring the relationship I have with my mom now and getting to know this person," she said on CTV’s Your Morning. Arden is often frustrated and fearful, but her mother has forgotten to be fearful.
"She said, 'You know what's so great about Alzheimer's is that you forget to be afraid,'" Arden shared.
"There's little things like that that she leaves me with all the time that I'll absolutely treasure for the rest of my life."