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December 8, 2011

Dear readers and friends,

On November 16, my sweet husband Norman passed away peacefully from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was 83. His health had been deteriorating over the past couple of years, but his decline became more rapid this summer. Though I will love him and miss him for the rest of my life, I am relieved that his suffering is over.

Alzheimer's is a vicious disease that robs its victims of their memories, their personalities, and their reason. The heartbreak of seeing vital, intelligent men and women reduced to a child-like state drains their families and loved ones. It's often referred to as "The Long Goodbye." For me, the real tragedy is that by the time you realize your spouse or parent is slipping away, it's probably too late for all the things you meant to say. But you say them anyway.

If you or someone you love is dealing with this hideous disease, please take advantage of any support groups in your area. I don't believe anyone can truly understand the agony you're going through unless they've been there themselves. With the aging of the 'boomer' generation, the plague of Alzheimer's will undoubtedly explode in the next decade, and a cure is not even on the horizon. Please support efforts in your local community to provide assistance to both the afflicted and their families.

As you can imagine, writing has been the farthest thing from my mind over the past year and a half, so there will be no twelfth Bay Tanner next spring. I have no idea where my life will go from here. I like to believe that it will include writing, but at this point I'm just not sure. In the dedication of one of my books, I called Norman my rock and safe harbor. Right now I'm floundering, and it will take time for me to get my bearings.

To those of you who were aware of our situation, let me say thank you for your good wishes and messages. They were a comfort to me and my family. I am continually astounded by the generosity of spirit of those I will never meet but who have taken the time to offer their prayers and words of encouragement. Bless you all.