Lois Hjelmstad

Lois Hjelmstad.com

Compassion and courage for the times you need it.

Abidance: A Memoir of Love and Inevitability

Les and Lois had been married sixty-four years, still crazy-in-love, when they found themselves in a sudden transition from the category of active-old to old-old. This remarkable story of their next five years describes their ongoing effort to maintain their lifelong egalitarian love affair as they coped with the new challenges.

And in that struggle, they found that it is the precise moment in which we concede our transcience that life and love become most cherished. 

“Lois, in her lyrical prose and poetry, gives us a rare—sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, but always realistic—view of life in the land of aging. This a story we seldom hear; a book for all of us, a must for health care professionals with older clients.” Anne Mahoney, PhD


Excerpts from Abidance: 

Going, Going…

Day by day he disappears
skin and muscle shriveling

I always thought he was big-boned
but now I see

he isn’t


Les had indeed recovered well in the past, but he was ninety-one now. The frequency of his current mishaps frightened me. He continued to say that it was okay, he would be okay, but I saw his unsteadiness as a problem.

Each hot summer day, as July wandered into August, I clung to my  stoicism, my pragmatism, doing whatever needed doing, falling into bed in sheer exhaustion every night.

It was as if Les were climbing a tall ladder and I held it, hoping to keep it stable.


Les put his arms around me and said, “Oh, my sweet girl, I’m really, really sorry. I know it’s hard. I know I lapse into helplessness because it’s easier. But nothing you do or say will ever stop me from loving you. We’ll get through this together. And next time, please, please wake me so I can be with you here in the dark.”

I sighed. I have spent so much time trying to protect Les that it was truly a moment of grace to open the floodgates, to share my blackest state of mind, to have him understand and comfort me. He is my husband. He remembered that he is. He did what only he can do.


Additional Responses:

“This beautifully written love story inspires couples to renew their commitment to living fuller lives together. Whether you’ve been married for one year or seventy, this wonderful story will bring tears, laughter, and inspiration to your lives. A must for aging readers, which includes everyone.”

– Connie Shoemaker, author of The Good Daughter: Secrets, Life Stories, and Healing

“I truly adore this book. Lois has written a page-turner about two soul mates whose marriage has endured much struggle and yet have been blessed with boundless love and good times. In this day of social media and everything digital, this is a tale about something we often forget: The deep and abiding love two people can have for each other, and the life’s journey they share.”

-Fred Silverman, New York Producer

“Lois has chosen her words in a wondrous fashion. I couldn’t stop reading until I had turned the last page.”

-Arlo Sonnenberg, 100-year-old Renaissance Man

“What a love story!”

– Judith Macomber, Retired IT Analyst/Manager

Abidance should be required reading for anyone contemplating marriage. It is the most beautiful painting of love I have ever seen.”

– Carol Feller, author of Dancing through Minefields 

“This book truly resonated with me. It is beyond outstanding.”

– Grace Hershberger, a longtime friend in Indiana


Order Abidance – A Memoir of Love and Inevitability – $16.00


Get a signed copy by ordering directly. Contact me at lois.hjelmstad@gmail.com.