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Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye Paperback – June 4, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
When her mother's physical frailty became problematic and Owens left her Kansas home to stay nearby her parents in Texas, she had no idea the sojourn would span seven years. In that time, her mother's diagnosis moved from Parkinson's disease to Alzheimer's, and Owens watched what she calls the "slow dismantling" of the intelligent and capable person she had known all her life.
What distinguishes this book from other records of a similar kind is Owens's unfailing sense of irony. She takes no prisoners. No one, including herself or her mother, is spared her perceptive eye and subtle wit. Doctors and medical staff particularly, are depicted with total frankness--too busy, too hasty, forgetful, insensitive--including the psychiatrist who tells the patient chirpingly to "get out more" and "find a purpose in life."
Yet the book is fair and full of compassion and the tone throughout is exactly right, an unusual accomplishment when the topic itself runs the gamut of emotions and human idiosyncracies. This is a tough record to read, but hardly depressing, and a wise-spirited author helps you through.
"This is not a cheerful book," Virginia Owens explains in her Opening Note, "but it is truthful."
It's truthful, and it's vivid. The book has a story to tell, as it tracks the author's mother through an ever-increasing dementia toward what we know from the start will be a disaster. In the early chapters Virginia Owens helps look after her mother at home. Her mother has little faith in medicine: "She goes to the doctor the way I went to church as a teenager, bitter and under duress. She takes her pills like an apostate receiving communion, with little hope in their efficacy. A dark night for both soul and body."
It's worse later, in the nursing home--that place, Owens says, "the name of which strikes terror into every person's heart." When she goes to visit her mother, most of the other residents ignore her. She doesn't blame them, "They had every right to their withdrawal. Only a handful of residents have visitors who come on even a weekly basis. Most are visited occasionally, some rarely or never. People who've been abandoned develop a thick coat of defensive frost."
Owens' indictment of nursing homes is calm, steady, devastating. It's as abiding as the anger she sees in the residents: "You can feel it as soon as you come in the door. Cold Rage.Read more ›
If you are looking for sentimental memoir look elsewhere. I picked this book for that reason and to try to help me through the trials of my own life and it turned out to be the perfect choice. The trials Owens and her mother go through are heart wrenching and frustrating but she keeps the facts straight and the sentimentality low. She forges through all the trials with very little emotion. But the last chapter reels it all in and encircles you with hope and strength. It's a good, informative, strength building read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thoughtful journey from the early days of caregiving for one's parents through the day to day experiences. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Susan O.
My Mother has Alzheimer's and I am her sole, full-time caregiver. We have decided to read some books together that told stories of others experiences. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dana Whitney
I recently became a caregiver for my mom. She was diagnosed with cancer and with 7 or 8 tumors in her brain she has been given very little time to live. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Shelene Bernal
Not a practical How-To and found it difficult to stay with it. Not as informative and inspiring as Inside The Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter's Memoir.Published 21 months ago by P. Ludwig
Having gone through "a long goodbye" with my mother-in-law, I related to this story. The book was a well-written account of the author's experience.Published on December 31, 2013 by Margaret Wien
This book could have been written by me. Finally a story that mirrored our life as my Mom and I took this journey down the dark, scary, hurtful, paranoia and uncharted path of... Read morePublished on August 8, 2013 by Carroll L.
it was in great shape and a good book to read. always great to get a good price on the books.Published on December 1, 2012 by Nancy D. Talley
I loved this Book. My mom is going through Alzheimers and I could see myself in it alot. If you need to feel like your not alone, buy itPublished on February 4, 2012 by Barbara C. King