At age 33, award-winning author and poet Ann Campanella returns to her home state of North Carolina ready to build a horse farm and start a family. Ann’s foundation is shaken when she experiences multiple miscarriages at the same time her mother spirals into Alzheimer’s. The author’s devotion to her family and her horse Crimson sustain her as her mother’s illness progresses and her own window of potential motherhood begins to close.
The voice in Ann’s memoir has been called constant and abiding, her imagery indelible. Her graceful, exacting language rises above the grief of infertility and the struggle to care for aging parents, connecting the reader ultimately to the heartbeat and resilience of the human experience.
Formerly a magazine and newspaper journalist, Ann Campanella is the author of Motherhood: Lost and Found, a memoir about her mother's descent into Alzheimer's when Ann was in her 30s and trying to become a mother herself.
One of Ann’s passions is spreading awareness about Alzheimer's. In 2018, Motherhood: Lost and Found was named one of the “Best Alzheimer’s Books of All Time” by Book Authority. A few months later, Ann was surprised to be recognized by the Herald Citizen as one of the Most Influential Women in her community for her work with Alzheimer’s. Ann is a member of the management team of AlzAuthors.com, a website that represents over 170 authors of books about Alzheimer’s and dementia. She has a degree in English Literature from Davidson College and lives on a small farm with her family and animals.
This excerpt explains my deep connection with horses. It sets the scene for how my horse Crimson, who is a grandson of Secretariat, supports me through a series of life challenges.
Motherhood: Lost and Found
I am thirty-three years old and have been riding horses since I was nine. From the beginning I was entranced with their power, their muscled fluidity. I was a typical young girl in love with horses. But there was more—a nuance I couldn’t articulate, and still struggle to name. Call it a connection, an invisible fiber that runs between me and these four-legged creatures, as if we are one and the same. Crimson’s large brown eyes, his very skin seem to absorb every sensation and emotion that passes through me. Standing in the aisle this afternoon, brushing his coppery coat, it was as if he intuited something was different, that I was different. Could he feel the new life growing inside me?