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Wait Until Tomorrow: A Daughter's Memoir Paperback – April 26, 2011

5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Wait Until Tomorrow is a profound story about life and love and loss, growing up and growing old, holding on and letting go. There is a song of beauty and truth on every page." —Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

"An inspiring story of love, loss and the ravages of aging." —Kirkus

"Pat MacEnulty provides an honest, searing look at how her mother—a distinguished musician bursting with energy and wit—enters the last frontier of her life, still demanding the spotlight though its glow now comes from her talented, overworked daughter. There is urgency here: desires that can never be satisfied, illnesses that must be survived, love that pulls at the boundaries of hope and despair and yet stubbornly persists. Beautifully written, this is a poignant, necessary book!" —Patricia Foster, author of All the Lost Girls

“A spare, disciplined prose that no one will be able to read without thinking of Hemingway. But MacEnulty has made the style her own…Every story is a new demonstration that MacEnulty has that rare ability to convince, wholly, in very few words.” —The Observer

"This beautiful book about death and dying, written from the point of view of a daughter, a caregiver who was wise enough to care about her own life, is also a lively and even funny book." —Kate Millet, author of Mother Millet

About the Author

Pat MacEnulty is a teacher, writing coach, and freelance editor. She holds a Ph.D. from the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University. MacEnulty is the author of four novels, including Sweet Fire (2004), Time to Say Goodbye (2006), From May to December (2007), Picara (2009), and the short story collection The Language of Sharks (2004). Her interviews, short stories, essays, poems, and plays have appeared in The Sun and other publications. From 1995 to 2002 she facilitated writing and drama workshops for prisoners as well as at-risk juveniles. MacEnulty currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The Feminist Press at CUNY (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558617019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558617018
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,211,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I've read most of MacEnulty's books and this one is her finest. She tackles the difficult subject of caretaking for an elderly parent with an honest eye and a caring heart without slipping into melodrama and sentimentality. Her prose is at once poetic and sparse with moments of genious. I am reminded of "Eat, Pray, Love" and think that perhaps this book is what Gilbert's book was not. It's real. Unlike Gilbert, MacEnulty can't go off to Italy and eat pasta to escape her reality, she has to stay home and deal with it. While MacEnulty deals with the failing health of her mother, the needs of her daughter, and the loss of her marriage, she maintains her humor and recaptures the relationship with her mother that she once had as a young girl. This book will make you laugh, cry, and cheer for MacEnulty and her mother, Roz.
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After reading "Wait Until Tomorrow," the adage, "As you sow, so shall you reap," seems a most descriptive term for the journey Pat MacEnulty travels with her mother down the harrowing road of caretaking. MacEnulty's mother kept her focus on the person her daughter was inside as MacEnulty sped toward her own destruction. Her mother-love and her vision of her daughter resulted in MacEnulty's turnaround. Now, the daughter expresses her love and anguish in her memoir centering on her mother's aging process. MacEnulty eloquently walks the tightrope between caring for her mother while juggling her own family and her teaching duties as an assistant professor. As MacEnulty adjusts to her changing mother, she is called to do the same in her family. MacEnulty self-honesty makes this a must-read for anyone who has, is or will be caring for an aged parent.
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This memoir is much more than the author's story of taking care of her aging mother while trying to find time for her teenage daughter and her husband and her job--though that tale is artfully rendered. But beyond the sandwich generation story, MacEnulty paints a vivid portrait of the talented,creative musician her mother was before age diminished her abilities. The author shares the pain of a woman watching her world shrink from center stage with applauding audiences to a tiny cell of hospital rooms and assisted living facilities. Yet even within the confines of that reduced world, Rosalind MacEnulty sometimes manages to burst through with the force of her personality and talent to organize sing-alongs and entertain residents and staff with her piano playing.

One thing I admired about the story is Pat's brutal honesty about caregiving and aging. There's no sugarcoating of the bad days when Pat is exhausted and cranky from constant demands on her. By describing the days when she admits she is evil and mean, she gives readers permission to forgive themselves when they fall short of perfection as caaregivers.

Nor does Pat hide the degradation of age. She lays out the humilations in detail: the inability to go to the bathroom by oneself or control your bladder, the mental lapses, the need for a walker.

Despite the difficulties of her journey, Pat offers two amazing gifts born of love and gratitude to her mother. The first is having her mother's requiem performed one last time, and the second is memorializing her in this beautifully crafted book. The mother's talent as a musician is mirrored by her daughter's talent as a writer. The words, the sentences, the syntax all form a music of their own, Pat MacEnulty's requiem for her mother.
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Format: Paperback
It's a story you hear with increasing frequency as you get older, about the exchange of roles as the parent becomes the child and the child the caregiver, but only in the particulars of each person's life is its heartbreak revealed. In Wait Until Tomorrow, Pat MacEnulty's beautiful memoir of her mother, Roz, we don't just meet the dependent, at times unfamiliar woman Roz has become, we get to know her as she used to be. A talented composer and pianist who won a music scholarship to Yale, Roz had always loved to perform--on whatever form a stage might take. Beautiful and vivacious, she had no problem--indeed, often insisted on--being the center of attention, and could be counted on to liven up any gathering. ("You want to hear 'Happy Birthday'?" MacEnulty writes. "She can play it in at least five different versions, from boogie woogie to horror movie.") Roz loved her music, she loved to play Scrabble, she loved the three children she'd mostly raised on her own. Life was good in all the ways that mattered, until one fundamental thing changed. In MacEnulty's words: "And then she got old." As Roz's body and mind both begin to fail her, her daughter takes over managing all the details involved in her care while struggling to hold her own life together in her roles as a wife, mother, and professor, and she recounts those days and years in a sharp, present-tense narrative that emphasizes the immediacy of life being lived even while its subject begins slipping away. There is no glossing over the heartbreak of watching a parent's slow descent into dementia, and MacEnulty spares us none of the details: the alarm on the bed, the repeated trips to the hospital, the confusion in her mother's eyes, the times when you think it would be impossible for things to get any worse, and then, of course, they do.Read more ›
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