My memoir ‘Waiting in the Wings’ is free today and until February 5th on Amazon. It is now #1 in Amazon UK’s free books ‘Aging Parents’ category, and #6 in ‘Memoirs’. Thanks to all who have downloaded it today.
At the grand old age of 92, my mother Dot suddenly starts telling me that she loves me. I am quite dumbstruck at these outbursts of emotion, as she has never mentioned the fact before in all of my 58 years. Over the entire course of my lifetime we have often argued bitterly, and have never really seen eye-to-eye over anything. I squirm with the inner knowledge that she wants me to reply in a similar vein, but try as I might, I cannot.
The guilt I feel at being unable to grant Dot her wish is overwhelming. As Dot’s health deteriorates more towards the final chapters of her life, I take on the role of carer. I find the only way to bring her out of her perpetual misery is to reminisce on past events by showing her old family photographs, and by helping her to remember holidays and happier times. We look back without anger and sometimes with a lot of laughter, getting to know each other better, raking over the past, and talking more than we have ever done. The process helps me, a middle-aged woman, understand the perils of ageing that I might one day face, and also the struggles that elderly people suffer on a day-to-day basis while stoically attempting to maintain their independence.
This is a true story, told in flashbacks and in modern-day often humorous conversations with my mother.
5 star review from J. Jonas on 14/12/16:
I have come to expect a well-constructed, intelligently-written book from this accomplished author, and Waiting in the Wings ticks all the right boxes. The story of the author’s rollercoaster relationship with her mother is told with honesty. She regrets that she cannot say the words, ‘I love you,’ to a mother who has been exasperating and difficult to deal with, even in her vulnerability and defiance as she clings to her independence and refuses professional care help. Although the author can’t say the words, we see through her daily actions and patience, the love and compassion that lie beneath.
I applaud the author’s courage in writing so openly about her family, laying bare her thoughts about them – it takes guts to do that and it takes excellent writing to put across a tale that is absorbing, funny and poignant. Waiting in the Wings achieves all that. I felt as if I knew the characters as much as my own family, which is due to the power of the dialogue, the narration and descriptive passages. I became the fly on the wall, observing events as the author explored the past and the present, combining her life story with that of her mother. The flashbacks are never confusing. The book drew me in, held my attention and had me laughing aloud at some the characters’ antics. Highly recommended on so many levels, not least for the portrayals of heartache, comedy and a willingness to allow love and wit to prevail.
5 star review from Nancy L. Silk on 4/1/17:
This is a true account which the author shares with readers via flashbacks and in modern-day humorous conversations with her mother. Stevie is 58 years old, her mom, Dot, is 92 when Dot starts telling her she loves her. They always had arguments and disagreements over the years. But looking back there are also lots of humorous times to remember. This is a life event which most of us have to face eventually. It’s not easy, but caring for an aged person can alleviate pain and guilt at the end of life. Very well worth reading, especially for those who have loved ones turning the corner into old age.