Marcy Houle, author of ‘The Gift of Caring,’ comes to The Bookworm of Edwards, Sept. 29 | VailDaily.com

Marcy Houle, author of ‘The Gift of Caring,’ comes to The Bookworm of Edwards, Sept. 29

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EDWARDS — Marcy Houle is no stranger to giving a voice to the voiceless. But she never thought her current subjects would live so close to home.

"I have always written stories for things that have no voice — the wilderness, endangered species — often trying to be the best advocate for them," Houle said. However, I never expected my next story to revolve around my experience with my parents."

Houle recently partnered up with Dr. Elizabeth Eckstrom, geriatrics physician, to produce the "The Gift of Caring." She will discuss the book today at The Bookworm of Edwards.

The book presents a healthy and hopeful approach to the final phase of life, pairing both stories and medical research to create a better way to face the inevitable process of aging.

Houle, biologist and public health advocate, spent her college years in Colorado and now calls Portland, Oregon, her home. Having published several other books on ranging topics from her field, Houle had every intention of beginning and finishing another project. It was at this time, however, when her father fell ill.

"I couldn't focus on writing another book, so I stopped that project but continued to keep journals," Houle said. "It was such an eye-opening process because my father had done everything right. He was a well-known and well-respected doctor, but when he became ill, none of that seemed to matter.

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"When certain things happen, you become forgotten. I saw that it doesn't matter who you are, when you start to age, things can fall apart quickly. I had to step up and become his advocate."

Houle began to look through her journals and saw the power they held — stories to which she knew people would relate. It was at this point that she met Eckstrom.

"She is truly passionate about the patients she sees and their families," Houle said. "I asked her if she could give me 20 to 25 things that the general population doesn't know. It was incredible to hear her knowledge on this subject. Once I had her research, I added in my stories."

This groundbreaking project took less than a year to complete. Not only did the stories Houle provided speak volumes to the research Eckstrom explained, but they came firsthand through the author's journals.

"I knew from firsthand this whole experience, but through this writing process, I finally found validation in my experience," Houle said. "You want to be an advocate for the people you care for and for yourself, but when you have the scientific confirmation to your experiences, it makes all of the difference. Everything was all affirmed.

"I didn't want to write just another sad story. You feel you can offer support in a way you didn't expect."

After evolving from a personal experience, "The Gift of Caring" has inspired a legacy of stories of hope. From a husband whose wife has Alzheimer's but finds joy in the moments where they hold hands or simply share smiles, to the 96-year old woman who told her doctor she knew her rights and had the book to prove it, "The Gift of Caring" is proving to be a gift to many.

If you go …

What: Author event with Marcy Houle, author of “The Gift of Caring.”

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29.

Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., Riverwalk at Edwards.

Cost: $10, includes appetizers.

More information: Call 970-926-7323, or visit http://www.bookwormofedwards.com.