Dutiful Daughters: Reflecting on Our Parents as They Grow Old

Dutiful Daughters: Reflecting on Our Parents as They Grow Old

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by Jean Gould, Mark Helprin
     
 

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These first-person accounts portray, with thoughtfulness and clarity, a wide range of caregiver experiences: the possibility of deepening relationships; the opportunity for forgiveness; the ability to reach out and to look within to find strength; the sorrow of watching a parent grow old; and the chance to say goodbye.

Overview

These first-person accounts portray, with thoughtfulness and clarity, a wide range of caregiver experiences: the possibility of deepening relationships; the opportunity for forgiveness; the ability to reach out and to look within to find strength; the sorrow of watching a parent grow old; and the chance to say goodbye.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Edited by poet and essayist Gould (Season of Adventure), this unusual book of first-person essays by women writers is timely and engaging. Appearing just as policymakers reassess Medicare and Social Security, it documents the private side of aging and caregiving. Each of the 22 stories told here is different: some contributors tell of how caring for their aging parents deepened their relationships or afforded opportunities for late-life forgiveness; others explore loss and sorrow. As a result, this is a wonderfully varied exploration of the complicated emotional and spiritual issues that emerge for both parents and daughters as their bodies and relationships age. It will likely be read by aging parents and their caregiving children alike. Very highly recommended for all public libraries.--Kay L. Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An eclectic and evocative collection of first-person narratives by women who serve as the primary caretakers of their elderly parents. Gould, a visiting scholar in Women's Studies at Northeastern University, has collected 22 moving and provocative essays examining the many emotions felt by those caring for aging parents. From the diversity of voices and experiences, a number of common themes emerge. Among them is the healing that can occur between daughter and parent as the roles of dependency are reversed. While caring for her aging father, Patricia A. Gozemba establishes a newly deepened comradeship upon discovering that he had never shared her mother's antipathy toward her lesbianism. "Stunned by my father's passive declaration of support," she writes, "I felt vindicated, stupid, infantile and relieved." Marion Freyer Wolff, too, eventually replaces anger toward her father with forgiveness when, gazing into his sorrowful eyes, she recalls his many losses ranging from family members who were murdered during the Holocaust to his older daughter's recent death. These stories also attest to the unexpected discoveries that a daughter caring for a parent may chance upon. In her story "The Minyan Connection," Sheila Golburgh Johnson describes how she rediscovers Judaism—after years of fleeing any connection to her faith or people—by joining her father's Saturday morning prayer service after his death. Also included in this collection are accounts of lives that linger on for too long. In "The Promise," Diane Reed describes her desperate, often futile attempts to help her 86-year-old mother die once life had become intolerable. And in "Mother May Be the Death of Me," Martha Bakerlaments her overbearing mother's survival, since it means that she can continue to "make the lives of all four of her daughters a living hell." Concluding with resources from organizations, and Web sites to books, Dutiful Daughters provides a powerful, intimate overview of circumstances likely to touch many of our lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580050265
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1999
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.67(d)

What People are saying about this

Betsy Chalfen
Dutiful Daughters offers a critical place for engagement about what it means for women to care for our aging parents, and what it feel like to confront the associated loss, grief, and eventually, death.
—Betsy Chalfen, Sorjourner: The Women's Forum

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Dutiful Daughters: Reflecting on Our Parents as They Grow Old 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This collection of more than twenty intimate perspectives on the effects of aging on familial relationships serves two key purposes: First, the book provides a road map to assist adult children in caring for their aging parents. Second, the novel represents a qualitative data collection strategy. Inspired by the editor¿s experience while her mother was in an ¿assisted living¿ facility, the author was desperate to discover how other daughters managed the helplessness that quite overwhelmed her as she began to care for her eighty-nine-year-old parent who was on seven different medicines and had recently sustained purple bruises from a fall. The details of each writer¿s experience often made me weep, occasionally made me laugh, and always had me nodding with recognition. I deal with a difficult 86 year old, narcissistic grand-mother who has had many recent illnesses and crises. This book is enjoyable and easy to read. I read through cover to cover in one evening. The examples describing each ¿difficult behavior¿ were fun to read and helped me relate to and better yet, it gave solutions. I recommend it highly to all persons who are dealing with stress resulting from interacting with a difficult, older parent. From the perspective of nursing research, the novel also serves as a resource for qualitative research: Technically speaking, the collection of nonfiction stories (or self-reports) is rich in original, thick descriptions of the events involving the daughters and their families. The book shows how qualitative researchers gather and focus data using observations, hands-on experiences, and documentary analysis. Note also the unique role of the researcher, the editor in this instance, as a participant-observer in the data collection process. The participant observer attempts immersion, to the extent permitted, in local life in order to understand and document how things work.