“I know where I’m going. I’m still myself. I just can’t remember things as well as I once did. So on short trips, I work hard not to be confused. I’ll say to myself, What are we going to do? How long are we staying? It’s like I’m talking to my other self—the self I used to be. She tells me, This is what we need to buy—not that. I’m conscious of that other self guiding me now.”
Restaurateur, magazine publisher, celebrity chef, and nationally known lifestyle maven, B. Smith is struggling at 66 with a tag she never expected to add to that string: Alzheimer's patient. She’s not alone. Every 67 seconds someone newly develops it, and millions of lives are affected by its aftershocks.
B. and her husband, Dan, working with Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Shnayerson, unstintingly share their unfolding story. Crafted in short chapters that interweave their narrative with practical and helpful advice, readers learn about dealing with Alzheimer's day-to-day challenges: the family realities and tensions, ways of coping, coming research that may tip the scale, as well as lessons learned along the way.
At its heart, Before I Forget is a love story: illuminating a love of family, life, and hope.
With a foreword by Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD
A Books for a Better Life Award nominee
"...An enduring love story." - Publisher's Weekly starred review
“The vulnerability, courage, and honesty in Before I Forget are heart-opening. Fear can be paralyzing…yet B. and Dan beautifully demonstrate that there is a different way to approach this stealthy invader. Alzheimer’s needs to come out of the shadows, and this book is an important step.”
— Maria Shriver
"What an amazing couple and what an amazing book! It is medically and scientifically accurate, and yet places this devastating disease in the context of a beautiful and intimate relationship. We must do better as a community, in our families and within our government in responding to this disease. African-Americans are especially called upon to get more involved in the research as this disease disproportionately impacts us."
—Dr. David Satcher, Former Surgeon General of the United States
“B. and her husband Dan made it to the top by breaking through societal barriers. Now they are facing down her heart- breaking diagnosis and fighting to live each day with love and dignity. Read Before I Forget to understand how Alzheimer’s tests both patient and family. Admire their courage, honesty, and how they use their celebrity to advocate for research and prevention.”
—Meryl Comer, president of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative and author of Slow Dancing With A Stranger: Lost and Found in the Age of Alzheimer's
“An important story, told with utter honesty. With Alzheimer’s, all of us are at risk, though for reasons no one quite understands yet, African-Americans are especially vulnerable - a message this book conveys powerfully. Before I Forget is a deeply personal call to arms.”
“For those who have Alzheimer’s now, there are lifestyle measures that may allay some symptoms of the disease – measures that B. and Dan report on in this helpful and poignant book. There is also so much that family caregivers can learn about how to deal with Alzheimer’s and its many emotional challenges, hardships and, if one is looking, the state of grace it sometimes brings.”
—From the Foreword by Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.
"This book is an act of courage and generosity. Courage is reflected both in the extraordinary strength Dan and B. have displayed over the course of the disease and their willingness to be honest—at times brutally so—about its progression. This honesty results in an intelligent and accessible work of insight, wisdom, and advice to all who will be touched in some way by this terrible disease. The "Lessons Learned" sections would alone make it required reading. It is a clarion call for better research, better treatment, and above all else better understanding of one of the great health care crises of our time. I commend this to everyone because all of us have or will be touched by this disease. Before I Forget is destined to be a landmark in the conquest of Alzheimer's."
—Neil Kerwin, Ph.D., President, American University, and Professor of Public Administration and Policy
"A brave and important story, told with candor, love and useful information. Before I Forget offers a real glimpse into what Alzheimer’s actually looks like in a loved one, and sheds a hopeful light on why this disease needs much more research, funding, and attention."—Kimberly Williams-Paisley, actor and author of Where the Light Gets In
"Before I Forget, Dan Gasby's valentine to his wife, B. Smith, courageously lifts the veil that shields those with Alzheimer's. It is moving testimony to the power of love and the true meaning of what "in sickness and health" really means. Before I Forget is, quite simply, unforgettable."
—George and Trish Vradenburg, Co-Founders, USAgainstAlzheimer's
“A powerful portrait of Alzheimer’s…marked by strong emotions and often bleak honesty.”
--The Washington Post
"…You’d be hard-pressed to find a book that will affect you more…Without being a spoiler, there is no happy ending to this book, save but the sheer love that makes it soar. If you’re an Alzheimer’s caretaker, or are facing the disease yourself, you absolutely will want this memoir. Before I Forget is a book you never will…" --Terri Schlichenmeyer
“They share an inspirational message of hope while issuing a rallying a cry to the African-American community which suffers from Alzheimer’s at over twice the rate of whites. Above all, the memoir is a reaffirmation of a couple’s undying love…”
"Barbara Smith (aka B.Smith) and Dan Gasby have given an incredible gift to the community by writing this book."
--Shawn Katterman, PhD, Midwestern Psychological Association