In writer, producer, director and former broadcast journalist Dave Iverson’s acclaimed documentary “Capturing Grace,” one of the people with Parkinson’s Disease in the film says, “When the music starts, there are no patients. There are only dancers.” When one opens the pages of Iverson’s wonderful, moving and subtly provocative new book, Winter Stars, an eldery mother, an aging son, and life’s final journey, there are no mere readers. Instead there are caregivers and those to whom care is given. There are mothers and sons. There are indeed only patients, and those who will be patients. In other words, all of us. Winter Stars is a book for all of us.
Winter Stars is the story of Iverson’s extraordinary mother Adelaide, a force of nature unforgettable to everyone who met her, who died in 2017 at the age of 105. It is also the story of Iverson, a then-59-year-old, award-winning journalist whose accomplished career included 20 years at Wisconsin Public Broadcasting, nine of those years as anchor and co-host of the influential weekly WeekEnd news program on Wisconsin Public Television, who, having moved back to the West Coast in 2001, moved into his Menlo Park childhood home a year later to care for his mother. It is a story of making such decisions in the context of one’s own health challenges; in Iverson’s case, Parkinson’s Disease. It is a story of caregiving and caregivers, the importance of which, and whom, are literally life-saving. And it is a story of life’s end, that singular yet universal truth for which we are rarely ready despite our best intentions. It’s a lot to pack into a 222-page book. It is a read as compelling, thought-provoking, emotional and rewarding as it is a testament to Iverson’s skills as a writer and a storyteller.