When Jane Munro’s husband is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the Griffin-award-winning poet must chart a path through the depths of grief, learning to live with loss and to take solace and find freedom in the restorative powers of writing.
Open Every Window is a genre-bending prose account of the unravelling of a life—two lives—when Munro’s husband, Bob, twenty years her senior, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Evoking Lorna Crozier's Through the Garden, this memoir charts a path through sorrow—the pain of seeing a partner age and approach death, the exhaustion of caretaking and the regret in seeing life’s scope narrow and diminish. Writing with courage and love, Munro grapples with what it means to care for a husband who is gradually but devastatingly deteriorating. Her identity as a writer, yoga practitioner, mother and grandmother is eclipsed by a single word—caregiver.
When a doctor admonishes, “What job could be more important than caring for your husband?” Munro wonders if the same question would be asked if the roles were reversed and her husband was asked to put aside all his own needs in order to care for a wife with dementia. Ultimately, Munro finds respite in the power of writing, Iyengar yoga and the rhythms of the moon—not to heal but to allow her to face grief without breaking.
A poignant affirmation for anyone who has experienced loss, Open Every Window reveals the pain and power inherent in loving and being loved. Framed with short observations of the moon—from a new moon in Pune, India, to the following new moon in Vancouver, Canada—this memoir will entrance with its lyricism and comfort with the writer’s hard-won warmth and wisdom.