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Between Rock and a Hard Place

Nominated for the Montana Book Award, High Plains Book Award, and the PEN Award.


They had a big love. Their life together in the early years was knitted together by enthusiasm for their farm life, skiing, and exploring the Rocky Mountains. They loved and laughed their way through pack trips into high mountain elk camps, a permanent move to Montana, starting a new farm, and each of them building new businesses. Rockey and Maggie had a happy, healthy life
together full of adventure and promise.
A dozen years into their life together, Rockey, big, strong, capable master of his universe, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Between Rock and a Hard Pace is the journey of Rockey’s bold fight and ultimate loss to the disease. It is also the story of Maggie’s effort to support him as she eventually takes a bigger role in helping him fight this insidious enemy. She became a caretaker and medical interpreter, and he morphs into an unwilling participant in the hellish life of an advanced Parkinson’s patient.
Rockey’s unrelenting belief that he could rise above his inevitable losses to Parkinson’s became a driving force in their lives. At first, his positive attitude kept him strong and fit as the disease stole his abilities in tiny increments, even as he tried to continue doing all the physical things he loved. The world of medicine offers little relief to Parkinson’s patients, and eventually his
positivity subtly shifted into denial. Their former life together devolved into quiet, bitter chaos.
Maggie’s role became a delicate balancing act of encouragement, frustration and acceptance.
This is a story of deep love and unfathomable loss.


“This book will help you pay closer attention to the beauty of being alive—from the grand adventures to the shaky moments, to the microscopic details that bring strangeness and wonder, to the love and the pain. It will greatly enhance your sense of value for life.”

—Dazar Frihet, author of Young but Free

Between Rock and a Hard Place

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