Walking Through Twilight: A Wife’s Illness – A Philosopher’s Lament By Douglas Groothuis A Review



I typically start my reviews with a description of the author along with a description of the author’s credentials as they relate to the book. This is no exception, but it is different. Douglas Groothuis is a professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary, having received his PhD from the University of Oregon. Since this book contains some philosophical and theological reflections, this is relevant. Of even greater relevance is this: he is the husband of Rebecca Merrill Groothuis.

Walking Through Twilight is an account of the suffering experienced by a once brilliant woman with a form of dementia called primary progressive aphasia, and the anguish of her loving husband. Groothuis offers us a glimpse into their lives, and an account of his experience told with raw honesty. This book is what it claims to be; a lament. It is an honest outpouring of grief. It is not a rant that spirals into self-pity. It is a catharsis with a pastoral purpose.

The theme of the book is not “Look at me, I’m a victim,” or “Poor me.” Rather it is, “This is our lives. It hurts. This is what I’ve learned about what to do and what not to do.” This is, of course, a gross over simplification. This is not a “how-to” book. It is an invitation to walk with them, and to benefit from Groothuis’ reflections born of faith, experience, and clear thinking.

Walking Through Twilight is a must read for anyone who is having a similar experience, anyone who loves someone with dementia, and anyone who thinks they may ever know someone with dementia. The section where Groothuis talks about what not to say is especially helpful.