Wednesday, March 19, 2014
“I Will Never Forget” A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia By Elane C. Pereira
“I Will Never Forget”
A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia
By Elane C. Pereira
iUniverse, Bloomington IN
Reviewed 3/7/14 by Paul Steven Stone
A poignant journey through a life ending cruelly yet surrounded by love, “I Will Never Forget” is the author’s reminiscences, meticulously recorded, of her mother’s gradual diminution through the unstoppable ravages of Alzheimer’s. Well written and copiously recorded, the memoir is particularly powerful in the way the author jumps back and forth in time telling hers and her family’s story, so that by the time we are deep into her mom’s diminishment by Alzheimer’s we have witnessed many of the shared memories that her mom, Bette, will gradually relinquish to the disease.
In recounting her childhood memories, from small victories, like rescuing a baby bunny, to lessons learned when her mom cleverly broke her of the habit of pre-inspecting her Christmas presents, Mrs. Pereira shares with us the threads that make up the tapestry of a normal middle class life, interspersed as it was with the tragedy of death and loss.
As someone whose own mother is currently at the end game of Alzheimer’s I couldn’t help but compare Mrs. Pereira’s efforts to be a thoughtful, consoling caretaker of a struggling parent with those of my own. Frankly, I too often found the comparison uncomfortable. For Mrs. Pereira was a caring daughter, gifted with patience and understanding that ran far deeper than my modest portion.
Patience and understanding are ingredients greatly called upon when dealing with a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s. Especially in the early days when one can’t really be sure what’s going on; whether your mother is just being forgetful or is starting to need extra care and vigilance. Nor are the dangers so easily seen or navigated, as was proven when Bette stumbled out from a ‘secure’ facility into 25 degree weather for hours wearing only her pajamas.
I strongly recommend “I Will Never Forget” for anyone who finds him or herself on the threshold of a situation similar to the author’s. For revealing the stages of decline, the mood swings and roller coaster behavior of someone with Alzheimer’s, and the many challenges and pitfalls for those who are forced to take on a parental role for their parent, “I Will Never Forget” is like a guidebook to a foreign country. It is a story that you, like the author, will never forget.