Item description for Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye by Virginia Stem Owens...
Overview Owens gives a clear and realistic account of caring for an elderly loved one. Along the way, she notes the spiritual challenges she encountered--not the least of which included fear of her own suffering and death. (Practical Life)
Publishers Description IN THIS MOVING AND LIFE AFFIRMING BOOK, VIRGINIA STEM OWENS GIVES A CLEAR AND REALISTIC ACCOUNT OF THE MANY CHALLENGES OF CARING FOR AN ELDERLY LOVED ONE. ALONG THE WAY, OWENS NOTES THE SPIRITUAL CRISES SH ENCOUNTERED, NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH INCLUDED FEAR OF HER OWN SUFFERING AND DEATH. THIS BOOK WILL BE A HELPFUL COMPANION TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY ASSUMED THE ROLE OF CAREGIVER, HELPING THEM ANTICIPATE SOME OF THE EMOTIONAL TURBULENCE THEY WILL ENCOUNTER ALONG THE WAY.
From Publishers Weekly Death is never timely: it comes either too soon or too late. In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion recounts the aftermath of her husband's sudden death at the dinner table. At the other edge of the spectrum, Owens describes seven years preceding her mother's relentless descent into dementia, "God's own breath slowly leaking out through the fissures in her brain." Afflicted first with Parkinson's, then small strokes and Alzheimer's disease, Mrs. Stem eventually required round-the-clock care. Owens moved next door and spent hours every day with her: "All I could do was squat beside the avalanche, listening for any sign of life; sometimes I could hear a faint but familiar echo of her voice or gesture from under the heap." Through essays as incisive and insightful as Didion's, this account succeeds on multiple levels: medical detective story, personal memoir, flawless description, philosophical and spiritual exploration (where is the self when the brain no longer functions normally?). Owens offers not self-help but hope as she bears witness to the grief and glory of life's ending: "If love... weren't the center from which life flows, if it didn't, as Dante says, move the stars, how could we bear such weight?" Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Awards and Recognitions Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye by Virginia Stem Owens has received the following awards and recognitions -
Christianity Today Book Award - 2008 Winner - Christian Living category
Citations And Professional Reviews Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye by Virginia Stem Owens has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly Best Books - 11/05/2007 page 34
Publishers Weekly - 04/09/2007 page 48
Booklist - 06/01/2007 page 7
Christian Retailing - 06/11/2007 page 24
Christianity Today - 09/01/2007 page 100
Books & Culture - 09/01/2007 page 11
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Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.51" Width: 5.72" Height: 0.48" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date Jun 4, 2007
Publisher PRESBYTERIAN PUBLISHING #86
ISBN 0664231527 ISBN13 9780664231521
Availability 0 units.
More About Virginia Stem Owens
Virginia Stem Owens has written sixteen books and numerous articles and reviews. She is member of the editorial board of "Books and Culture".
Reviews - What do customers think about Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye?
Must read and PASS ON Apr 19, 2010
This book arrived at a time when I really needed the uplift. It is not a caregiver guide. That has been done very well by other authors, in such as "The 36-Hour Day". This authors work touches the heart of a daughter who becomes a caregiver. . After a year or so into caregiving, I discovered there are those who are known as "the dutiful daughter". That is my tag. We owe it to each other to pass along any support or information that helps us through this process of grieving our living parent while at the same time assuming a role as their caregiver. No matter our actual level of hands-on caregiving, we assume an awesome responsibility, and have little recourse but to see it through to its natural end in spite of the personal hardships. I passed this book on to my neighbor only yesterday. It is my hope that she will do the same.
A Straightforward Unsentimental Journey Sep 11, 2009
This is the first book I've read of Virginia Stem Owens and it's an engaging memoir. Her mother's illnesses propel the book in incremental fashion and points. If you are caring for an elderly parent or person (which I am) it is informative.
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.
Perfect Read Jun 8, 2009
This book really hits home. If you or someone you know who has a close family member with Alzheimers, this is a must read.
A practical and yet sensitive guide for family caregivers of dementia patients Jun 5, 2009
I bought two copies of this book, Caring for Mother, to share with my sisters. It captures the emotional pain of dealing with the mental decline of a loved parent, the desire to provide the best care possible with the dispair of knowing it is not enough, even then, to alleviate his/her suffering. The author captures the emotional roller-coaster well, and her reflections on herself as well as her research into the physical realities serve as a helpful resource to the reader. I especially valued her final realization that the struggle, while painful, can lead to a deeper awareness of the value and meaning of human life.
An Essential Book on Dementia and Caregiving Mar 16, 2009
Though the title did not sound promising, I try to read every personal account of Alzheimer's I come across, so I bought this book and sat down with it one night in my reading chair--and didn't get up for three hours. The writing was fluid, the characters strong, the dilemmas painful and eternal. "Caring for Mother" turned out to be both subtle and incisive, an essential book on dementia and patient care, perfectly contained in 163 pages.
"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. For most of the people parked in wheelchairs, their anger has gone so stale after years of overuse that the emotion is routine now.... Anyone is culpable who comes through the front doors and is free to leave again under their own steam."
Owens does her best for her mother, the best that she can manage. But what never goes away, she says, what "doesn't wear out or disappear, is the feeling--no, the certain knowledge--that I could have done more, done better."