All Gone: A Memoir of My Mother’s Dementia, with Refreshments

(c) copyright 2016 Michelle Beckman, Sunday Dinner Stories
(c) copyright 2016 Michelle Beckman, Sunday Dinner Stories

Synopsis

Journalist Alex Witchel shares the “…torturous process of [her mother] disappearing in plain sight…” [p. 9]  Dementia is taking hold of her mother’s mind and body. As Alex cares for her mother, she collaborates with physicians and other caregivers who all want the best for Mom. Her Mom, however, fears losing herself and resists many of the behavioral changes recommended to improve her mood and overall well-being.

The Author Shares Herself

[The Y in Time 4 A S-T-O-R-Y]

Alex conveys her frustration, fears, and exhaustion as she navigates through the unknown waters of her mother’s diagnosis. She longs to hold on to the mother she always knew. “’She is your mother, but not the mother you knew. If she had died, it would be easier to grieve the loss. It’s hard to do that when she’s sitting in front of you. That person is no longer the person you knew.’ But she was! At least sometimes…” [p. 178] She turns to cooking her mother’s favorite comfort food dishes as a respite from the stress of her caregiving activities.

How the Memoir Affected Me

Alex’s experiences reinforced my belief that if dementia strikes one of my close loved ones (again), I will want to fix it. Eventually, I will need to accept that the world has changed, and with compassion, I will need to regard each day with this “new” person as a gift. I am hopeful that connecting with my loved one through a comforting, childhood activity (e.g., cooking) will help both of us cope with our new reality. 

Memorable Quote(s)

If I could cook enough magnificent food, it would heal the scar tissue in my mother’s brain and cure her depression. [p. 133]

It took three more years before I could accept even a small part of my mother’s condition without considering it my personal failure or betrayal. [page 204]

I never wanted her to think I abandoned her. I never wanted her to be alone. I wanted her to know I was fighting for her.  [page 205]

 

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Time 4 A S-T-O-R-Y Recipe For
Memoir Success

Time(Line)

Childhood experiences with her mother as well as events related to the dementia

4W-Why (The Story Was Told)

To share how Alex coped with losing the mother she always knew

4W-Who (Best Audience)

Adult children with parents experiencing any form of dementia

4W-When (Published)

2012

4W-What (Available Formats)

Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audible

S(cope)

Stories of Alex’s mother that describe who she once was and the comfort that her mother brought Alex

T(hemes)

Comfort, love, acceptance, resignation

O(rganize)

Chapters interweave Alex’s story, her mom’s story, flashbacks to childhood, as well as Mom’s recipes

R(ecall, retell, record)

Alex tells the story with humor and a journalistic bent

Y(ourself)

See upper left paragraph.

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© 2016 Michelle Beckman, All rights reserved. You are free to use material from the 4Ever Connected eNewsletter in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear. The attribution should read: "By Michelle Beckman of Sunday Dinner Stories. Please visit Michelle's web site at www.SundayDinnerStories.com for information, resources, and inspiration to help you preserve your legacy or a loved one's legacy before it's too late." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eNewsletter or in a web site.)

© 2016 Sunday Dinner Stories, Michelle Beckman