Former Miss New Bedford Releases a Book That Hits Home for Many
It's been few and far between on the good news front lately but former Miss New Bedford Ashley Bendiksen has released a book that she hopes will help others.
It truly takes a strong person to go into a tough time and come out the other side not only stronger but ready to help others that may be facing the same and that's exactly what Bendiksen has done.
I can recall being a dancer for the Miss New Bedford pageants when they would take place at New Bedford Vocational School and meeting some of the area's most amazing women, all of whom had overcome so much and worked hard to help make our community a better place.
Even though she has passed the crown on, Bendiksen is still taking her role in the community seriously and wrote a book that she hopes will help anyone who may also have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer's.
The book is called The Language of Time and Bendiksen has already received a lot of praise for her vulnerability when discussing the subject. Bendiksen has an amazing website that dives into everything she has been doing to create awareness and help the community. You can also order her book on her website as well.
I asked Bendiksen what her favorite part of the book was and why.
"It's hard for me to pick one chapter or story in the book that means the most to me. The entire book is deeply personal. It's one big vulnerable roller coaster of a book. Truthfully, some of the most vivid pages are the stories that were the most difficult to live, and ultimately write. They carry so many emotions.
"There's one moment that I really tried to somehow capture in words. My mother was tiny and frail, just sitting on our family couch. By this point, she was rarely aware or present, or able to recognize reality or us. I knelt before her on the carpet and hugged her knees, when suddenly she looked at me and something shifted. It was like she was recognizing me for the first time in a long time, like she was remembering everything again, like she was back. Then she said my name, which I also hadn't heard for so long. She said, 'Ashley, I love you,' and then she cried. And I cried. This moment embodied everything that I'd felt for eight years – how unfair and heartbreaking this was, how she didn't deserve this, how I was willing to do anything to somehow save her, and how we deserved so much more time together. This is what a caregiver of Alzheimer's feels every day. All we can do is maintain strength, hope, and embrace every moment possible with a loved one while we still have it."
"On a lighter note, there's a teeny chapter in the book that always makes me smile. I'm sitting with my mother outside in the sun. By then, her cognition had shifted and we spent much of our time in silly, fun conversations. I said to my mother, 'Mom, someday I'm gonna write a book about you – about us. Whatdya think?' and she just giggled and said, 'Okay!,' as if I was making some joke. I then proceeded with our very first interview. I asked her how her day was and hit record, and she said, 'It was a good day, and Ashley was here, and I was happy.'"