Bits and Pieces: Clark County woman pens book about spouse’s mental health battle

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian Arts & Features Reporter

Published:

 

Monique Colver

Monique Colver loves to write. Her ex-husband, the late Stewart Young, did, too.

So, as Young descended into a nightmare world of mental illness, both of them turned to the written word for comfort, communication and understanding.

“He wanted to educate people. He wanted people with mental illness to know that they are not alone,” said Colver. Meanwhile Colver was recording her own experience as Young’s dedicated caretaker — a warm, special relationship that continued even after the couple divorced. Young’s mental health improved before he died of terminal cancer in 2008; Colver was remarried by then, but still considered herself her ex’s best friend.

Now, the couple’s e-mails and journal entries have been compiled in a memoir called “An Uncommon Friendship,” which Colver, 54, has published herself.

Among other things, “An Uncommon Friendship” explores how personal caretaking can overwhelm the caretaker. “It shows people what they shouldn’t do — how to stay safe and sane. These were things I didn’t know at first,” Colver said. She means to explore this theme more fully in the book she plans to write next: “The Caretaker’s Survival Guide.”

“An Uncommon Friendship” is available through Amazon.com or Colver’s own site, anuncommonfriendship.com. Colver’s advice to fledgling self-publishers is not to skimp on editorial expertise. She hired an editor to help put her book together.

Bits ‘n’ Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you’d like to share, email bits@columbian.com.

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