Alan Johnston’s life took a sudden turn the moment he first caught sight of someone he describes as “the most stunning, gorgeous woman I had ever seen.” Smitten by an enchanting lady identified to him initially only as “Judy,” he draws on familiar songs — oldies such as “Pretty Woman” and “Earth Angel” — to describe his reaction.
From the opening of this memoir on love and illness —”Goodnight Sweetheart: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love” — Johnston makes clear his future wife would be the love of his life.
Halfway into their 29-year marriage, however, their lives were jolted by a doctor visit that confirmed their worst fears. At age 54, Judy was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. For the next 15 years, Johnston remained a devoted and loving husband as he dealt with her progressive illness.
His tale is deeply personal about his love and devotion to his late wife and the grief he experienced while dealing with “a dark disease with no survivors.” Clearly, Judy was a special person — evidenced by reminiscences included at the end of the book where those who knew her share about the person she was to her family and friends.
Johnston also offers information about Alzheimer’s disease, including possible causes, signs people may notice and stages they go through, while offering statistics that reflect its prevalence in modern life.
A native of Alabama, Johnston lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and has spent his career in ministry and financial planning.