Find a Place for Me is a memoir about facing a marriage’s last act—a spouse’s death—as a couple united in mind and holding hands. Deirdre and Bob are married eleven years and have two young children when forty-three-year-old Bob is diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS determines the journey their marriage will now take, but Bob and Deirdre are resolute in how they will traverse their remaining months as a couple. Chronicling Bob’s illness, Find a Place for Me is also the love story of a happy marriage filled with humor, honesty, and essential conversations. In this moving, tragic, and surprisingly funny book, Deirdre and Bob raise a glass to love and the life each of them has left while learning how to lovingly say goodbye.
Praise for Find A Place For Me
Find a Place for Me rough rides grief, anxiety, and an unflagging humor in such a beguilingly fresh approach to love and saying goodbye. This memoir will burrow down deep into your heart, finding its own place of comfort there. I dare you to be able to put it down.
—Noley Reid, author of Pretend We Are Lovely
Find a Place for Me is a luminous and loving portrait of a young family who must quickly pivot to a new normal when dad is diagnosed with ALS. Deirdre Fagan’s sweet and straightforward prose is like a conversation with a close friend. It is less than one year that Fagan travels “the long walk towards Bob’s death and our departure from each other.” And in that span of time she conveys not only her own challenges but lets us get close to Bob, whose courage and humor resonates and lingers. This memoir is a journey of a terminal illness where every page is very much about being alive.
—Donna Kaz, author of UN/MASKED, Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour
At its heart, Find a Place for Me is a love story. Deirdre Fagan chronicles her family’s heartbreaking, ten-month journey of caring for her young husband, Bob, as he battles ALS. Juggling her roles as caregiver, wife, lover and mother, Fagan paints a portrait of this intimate time with honesty and heart. In the end, their couplehood exemplified the code by which Bob lived—“with passion, honesty, strength, and an appreciation for each other and life itself.” This is a memoir that will stay with me.
—Susan Pohlman, author of Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home
Fagan is a sharply descriptive writer, capable of viscerally capturing the pain of impending loss…. A frank and affecting ALS account with lucid and at times heartbreaking writing.
This book transcends the monolith of terminal illness, chronicling grief through the everyday rituals and meditations of marital intimacy. It’s a story of death illumined on all sides by brimming life. Deirdre Fagan has written something profound in its honesty and humanity, celebrating a love that was—is—profound.
–Adam Schuitema, author of The Things We Do that Make No Sense
Find a Place for Me is a powerful testament to love and to the strength of the human spirit. It is a brave work, unapologetic in raising difficult issues regarding illness and relationships—issues that are often pushed to the side. While I recommend having a box of tissues close by when you read Fagan’s memoir, I also suggest a pen and paper. You may want to take notes, as Find a Place for Me is a worthy primer both on how to approach one’s death and how to live in the moment.
-Diane Gottlieb, Prism International
Find A Place For Me is a love story more than anything else, the story of a marriage as one spouse succumbs to a terminal illness. As Fagan watches her husband’s daily decline, she “filet[s herself] one layer at a time,” doing everything she can to honor his wishes and savor the moments left, while trying to come to terms with a life after his leaving. She is a reluctant survivor, one with a “mourning season” in the fall, during which she’s lost both parents, two brothers, and now her beloved Bob. This memoir is the answer to the title’s command, a place where Bob becomes legendary; Fagan pokes “pinholes of light” by telling their story of love and death in painstaking honesty and with surprising humor. She reflects on “liv[ing] death day-to-day” and then “surviv[ing] the end of love,” forming a broader commentary on how we judge love, and how death confounds us. Find A Place For Me becomes a primer for living life head-on, “instead of putting your shit in your back pocket and pretending it’s not there.”
–Katie Kalisz, author of Quiet Woman
As much as Find a Place For Me is a book about loss and terminal illness, it is also a book about love. Fagan’s recounting of discovering her husband’s illness, becoming a caretaker, raising children and holding down a job will resonate with anyone who has struggled to keep it all together in the face of such grief. This book brings humor, honesty, vulnerability, and, ultimately, hope in the face of loss.
—Dina Gachman, author of So Sorry For Your Loss (Spring 2023)
Lyrical. Raw. Unflinching. Deirdre Fagan pulls no punches in Find a Place for Me, her searing memoir of the ten months she and her young family get on with the business of day-to-day living in the shadow of her husband’s death sentence after being diagnosed with ALS. Faced with the certain loss of her “one and only,” the bereft protagonist who has already survived the loss of mother and father and brothers, sends up smoke signals: “They seek the help of others. They signal life. They signal danger.” Make no mistake, Find a Place for Me signals life. How do death and grief morph into a romance that affirms life itself? With honesty, tinged with Irish black humor and a dab of Nietzsche, and the strength of a love that defies human limits, that’s how.
–Kathleen J. Waites, author of “Sarah Polley’s Documemoir Stories We Tell: The Refracted Subject”
In Find a Place for Me, Deirdre Fagan takes an astonishingly honest look at living with and coming to accept her husband’s impending death from ALS. The book is unflinching in its honesty and ranges from the poetic and philosophical to the practical and humorous. The author pulls no punches, whether she is talking about sexual relations between the couple, her personal high points and low points, or the frank discussions she and her husband had about their futures. With honesty, dark humor, and the love of friends and family, the author and her husband “get busy living” right up until the end and in the process face all the things most of us fear to even consider.
–John Cullen, author of Town Crazy