Her Story: Alison Smiley

Motivating Stories from Local Women


Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for a truly motivating story by a woman who experienced them firsthand.


Photography by Rich Smith / Photos taken on location at SideTrack




Alison Smiley, Signal Mountain


I belong to a group that I never wanted to belong to, one that I never knew existed – the FTD family club. My husband has FTD (Frontal Temporal Dementia), and it is the most common form of dementia without a treatment or a cure for people under the age of 60. 

My husband lost his job in 2016 at the age of 44 when our two children were only 12 and 9. With no guide for this disease, I have had to make decisions on my own about when he would stop driving, when to take his credit card away, and when to move him into a long-term care facility. I wish now that we had talked more about those things so his wants and wishes could be truthfully carried out. Although it is incredibly difficult, I implore you to have those conversations.  

My husband was incredibly passionate about traveling. We have been to all 50 states and out of the country several times. I am thankful now that we did not say, “Someday we will make that trip.” He also was an incredibly smart person with an MBA and a master’s in actuarial science, and it has been difficult to watch my kids grow up and learn without their dad.

I am blessed to have friends and family around me who care about me. They stressed to me that I needed to take care of myself because my family was counting on me. I took their advice and reached out to my doctor and a counselor, joined a support group, and made sure I exercised almost every day. This time of growth has shown me how important self-care is and that everyone should try their hardest to make time for themselves.

A quote that has guided me in making decisions is from New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. It says, “In moments when you wish you knew what you can’t know, there is rest to be found. There is One who knows. He loves you and rules what you don’t understand with your good in mind.”

Get access to the next issue before it hits the stands!