Patricia Nugent shares some of her most intimate experiences and expresses the raw emotions of confusion, guilt, sadness, anger and hope in her book They Live On. It's the story of the last 18 months of her parents' lives as seen through a daughter's eyes in the form of 300 vignettes.
Nugent writes about her mother talking to the doctor when they put her father in the nursing home. She recalls being told that it's time to call hospice for her mother and she remembers the MRI that determined there was cancer.
"They are various experiences that hit you really hard as you're going through this process," said Nugent, of Saratoga Springs.
The book wasn't originally meant to be published. It started out as Nugent's personal journal that she was writing just for herself.
"It was a very challenging time for me and I needed a way to process what was happening in my life all of a sudden," said Nugent.
After her parents passed, her friends started carefully asking if they could read what she'd written.
"They became curious about it and when I let them read it, they said 'you need to share this. This is much more universal than your story,'" said Nugent.
She said she started thinking about how there were no books for her to lean on when she was dealing with her terminally ill parents and the grief that ensued. She thought about how comforting it might have been to read about someone else in a similar situation.
"I came to realize when I was going through the experience that there weren't many resources out there to support me. Our culture doesn't really understand the depth of adult parental loss," said Nugent. "There's a lot out there supporting young children when their parents die and that's certainly very tragic, but there's not a lot of help for adults coping with losing their parents."