All Gone - Alex Witchel
An honest account of watching your mother slowly "disappear in plain sight". A reminder for acceptance. Some extracts from the book that stayed with me.
"It's called ambiguous loss," she told me. "Gone, but not gone. 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.
But life often lacks balance. It is random and painful and disorienting. Or deliberate and joyous and reassuring. But never in equal measure.
In 2007, I interviewed Christine Ebersole...She revealed that her own mother had bee suffering from her memory loss, and was living with her husband and their three children. Wow, I said. You're performing eight shows a week while raising three kids under twelve, and you've got your mom living with you, too? And she answered, "It's a privilege." She talked about it being her turn to give the care now, and as she spoke, what knocked me out was her acceptance. She wasn't trying to fix it, she wasn't storming the halls of Mount Sinai hunting for another doctor, another test that would provide the aha moment when the reason, the secret would be ultimately revealed. Her mom couldn't take care of herself, so she was taking care of her. That's all.
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. I had tried and tried and tried to fix her, and I had lost. Utterly, unequivocally lost. And she loved me exactly the same as if I had won.
- United States