Dancing in Small Spaces
One Couple’s Journey with Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia
About the Book
An unstintingly honest and surprisingly humorous memoir that charts a couple’s parallel diagnoses of Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia.
In 2011, Leslie Davidson and her husband Lincoln Ford were enjoying retired life to the fullest as ardent outdoor enthusiasts, energetic travellers, and soon-to-be grandparents. But when Lincoln’s confusion became a concern and Leslie began to experience a hesitant leg and uncontrollable tremors in one arm, a devastating double diagnosis completely changed their life.
In this personal and unstintingly honest memoir, Leslie recounts the years that follow the diagnoses—her Parkinson’s and Lincoln’s Lewy body dementia—charting physical changes, mastering medications (and sometimes flubbing it), the logistical puzzles of caregiving, and the steady support of their close-knit community in the small town of Grand Forks in south central British Columbia.
She describes her struggle to maintain perspective while questioning what having perspective even means, and the work of being an advocate while needing an advocate. And she explains how, amid all the challenges and tears, shared laughter remained all-important to their survival, especially in times when Lincoln saw her as an imposter. She shares powerful lessons in love, courage, and grace from the man who had always led the way and who, despite the ravages of his illness, in many ways, still did.
At once poignant and unflinchingly frank Dancing in Small Spaces is the story of a long and adventurous marriage, of deep gratitude, and, ultimately, of writing one’s way toward understanding and acceptance.
“Leslie Davidson’s memoir highlights how a loved one’s dementia diagnosis can be frightening, exhausting and lonely, but also create unexpected opportunities for tenderness and humour. Even after two devastating diagnoses sent them into cognitive and physical decline, Davidson and her husband Lincoln found ways to recognize and hold on to each other and the adventurous spirit of their marriage. Dancing in Small Spaces is the truest kind of love story.” —Dakshana Bascaramurty, bestselling author of This Is Not the End of Me
“This book is a triumphant song of love. Beautifully written, fierce and tender, it will inspire gratitude in everyone who reads it.” —Alison Wearing, author of Moments of Glad Grace
“A sad and beautiful story that sparkles with wit, wisdom, and honesty; a primer on courage that insists on a simple but profound truth: love is the domain of the brave.” —Kara Stanley, author of Fallen and Ghost Warning
“What happens to love when identity stumbles and fragments? How does love survive? How can love survive? The beauty to be found in this book lies in its refusal to shirk difficult questions. Leslie writes with honesty and credibility. She is a writer who consistently sees a different slant, a jagged edge in an otherwise direct theme.” —Dr. Jon Stamford, neuroscientist, co-founder Parkinson’s Movement
“Dancing in Small Spaces is an ironic title given the big life that Leslie lives. . . Dementia and Parkinson disease have wrought havoc among her family and friends, constantly pushing to confine her to increasingly small spaces. Leslie will have none of that. Her generous soul, her poignant and eloquent writing, and her essential humanity all push the boundaries back out.” —Jillian Carson BScPT, Founder Parkinson Wellness, Projects Ambassador WPC 2016–2019
“You’ll be struck by Leslie’s calmness and acceptance, particularly around the passing of Lincoln, as well as how she now navigates Parkinson’s every day with grace, honesty, and acceptance.” —Power Over Parkinson’s Podcast
“Such a beautiful book. So moving, and so deeply personal and human.” —Sheryl MacKay, CBC’s North by Northwest
“This is not a sad story although there are sad moments. It is a story of true love that you will be grateful you have read it.” —17 Branches, non-profit organization
“This book could not be more timely… Dancing in Small Spaces offers a tender example of compassion deepening through crises and grief.” —BC Review