Winner in the The Aging Category of the 2013 National Indie Excellence Book Awards; www.indieexcellence.com
Finalist in the Best New Non-Fiction category of The 2012 USA Book Award; USABookNews.com
Honorable Mention Finalist in Non-Fiction in the 2012 Hollywood Book Festival
It is extremely difficult to watch a loved one decline as dementia ravages his or her mind, robbing him or her of memory, thinking abilities, and judgment. In her touching memoir, I Will Never Forget, Elaine C. Pereira shares the sometimes heartbreaking and occasionally humorous story of her mother’s journey through dementia, as seen through the eyes of her little girl.
Pereira begins by offering entertaining glimpses into her own childhood and feisty teenage years. Through it all, Pereira shares how her mom’s unconditional love and creative parenting style helped mold an opinionated young woman into a resourceful adult who eventually would move mountains on her mother’s behalf. As Betty Ward slowly begins to wander down the dark and narrow corridors of Alzheimer’s, Pereira details her mother’s amazing ability to mask the truth until something as innocuous as a drapery rod suddenly launches a waterfall of events. As their roles shift and a new paradigm forms, Pereira transforms into a caregiver who blindly navigates dementia’s unpredictable haze while her mother orchestrates Houdini-like disappearances and surprisingly rallies to take charge of her own destiny.
I Will Never Forget shares a powerful, emotional story that can help people affected by dementia take comfort in knowing that they are not alone.
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I Will Never ForgetA Daughter's Story of Her Mother's Arduous and Humorous Journey through Dementia
By Elaine C. Pereira
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Elaine C. Pereira
All right reserved.
Chapter OneChristmas Clues and Catastrophes
It was a week before Christmas. The tree was in its usual beautiful splendor, although at eight years old, I definitely cared more about what was under the tree than on it. My dad was at work, my older brother Jerry was off somewhere with his friends, and Mom was in the basement doing laundry. With the spies out of the way, I seized the opportunity to investigate my presents.
I huddled under the tree in the back and pressed hard on the top of a box with my name on it. The tissue paper was white, maybe two or three layers thick. The box was light—wide but not very deep. I shook it, but the sounds were vague and did not reveal anything about its contents. Bummer! I tried to remember what I might have put on my Christmas list that could be in a box of this shape and size, but I was stumped. I had to take more serious steps to uncover the prize inside. I pressed down on the top of the box and tried to see if I could unveil any clues.
Something reddish blurred under my fingertips, but I couldn't make anything out. I slid my finger slowly to the right and pressed down firmly again. This time, a bluish mark like an 1 or an I came through. I kept going to reveal green and yellow marks but nothing very helpful. Hmm. I went back to the red line on the left side and pressed down with the index fingers of both hands. Maybe doubling up would help. It was working, although the paper and box top were crinkling under the pressure of my fingertips. I kept pushing the paper out to the left and the right while also pushing down, and then there it was: an L. So I had an L and an 1 or an I; of course, it was an I. LI ..., I pondered. Life! The game. Cool. It wasn't on my list, but my mom had great gift ideas and I was sure it would be fun. So I had figured out one of the presents; now on to the next. Santa had nothing on me!
Subsequent Christmases weren't much different as far as my being the present detective. Sometimes I figured out my brother Jerry's gifts too, but I don't think I ever told. I was not disappointed on those Christmas mornings that there were fewer surprises than there could have been. The compulsion to discover the mystery intrigued me and occupied some of my time during Christmas vacation. Unbeknownst to me, however, my mom was getting suspicious and had observed me clandestinely. She was a pretty good sleuth, too—like mother like daughter. She started to add weight, like a soup can, or sound, such as a box of paper clips, to the packages to throw me off. She was very ingenious.
Finally, one Christmas experience cured me of these Grinch-like investigations. It was Christmas 1962, when I was ten, that I set out on what would be my last mission to reveal gift secrets. One of the boxes under the tree especially attracted my curiosity. It was beautifully wrapped and shaped like a shoe box. I picked it up. It was very light. Certainly there were no soup cans in this box. It also made very little sound when I gently shook it, but I could detect a soft chime. I knew my mom was getting more creative with her packaging, so I wasn't surprised that I was stumped initially.
Since I didn't know that she was already wise to my antics, I didn't realize that she was intentionally trying to trick me. Over the next couple of days, I became increasingly curious about this box. Nothing before had stymied me like this one. I really started to get annoyed and was determined to reveal its contents. The size and shape of the box did not yield any clues. The paper was not transparent enough to read through; in fact, it was heavy, not thin like tissue paper. My gentle shaking turned into rattling, and then I heard it—the unmistakable sound of broken glass. I had broken the gift! I was crushed, and so was the present.
I really didn't know what to do next. If I told my mom, I would give away all of my mischievous secrets. If I didn't tell her, then on Christmas morning I would open up a broken something and Mom would know that it hadn't been broken when she wrapped it. I set the box down and walked away. I had to think. Finally I decided to fess up. I picked up the box from underneath the tree, carried it to my mom, and confessed the truth—well, sort of the truth. I confessed my version of the truth.
I told her I had been shaking the box gently, omitting the details of my vigorous rattling, and then had heard broken glass. She was very calm. As I discovered later, she had planted this gift to once and for all stop my present spying. But she did not reveal for several years that she had been wise to my antics for some time. The broken gift turned out to be an inexpensive, very lightweight Christmas ornament. I don't remember what the wrapping paper looked like, but she had intentionally wrapped the box in that paper because she knew I would be attracted to it. Her hope was that I would be so curious about the featherweight box that I might possibly shake it until the gift broke.
Her plan worked. I had done exactly what she thought I would. Did she really know me that well? I should never have underestimated her—not then and not later. By the time she revealed her hand and told me of her scheme, I was an adult. She enjoyed her well-deserved moment of triumph retelling the story from her point of view.
Mom made Christmas magical, festive, and fun for our family. Some of the creative enjoyment evolved slowly over the years. She starting putting generic clues on certain gifts, like, "Keep Warm" on a sweater or box of socks or "Yum," which usually adorned goodies like chocolate. They were vague but cute. Gradually her proliferation of tags evolved into clue masterpieces, especially when I was a mom and reintroduced the tradition to my family. Each creative "word of art" could take hours to draft. The clues often rhymed, and they were truthful but intentionally very misleading. Sometimes the clues launched treasure hunts, taking the gift recipient all over the house before revealing the present, usually because it was too cumbersome to wrap. Nothing was off limits. We used Scrabble-like clues and made-up crossword puzzles. We did it all and did it masterfully. Our trademark shenanigans persisted for years, tapering off only for the faint of heart who married into our crazy Christmas clue family.
My mom arrived at our house in New Boston, in southeastern Michigan, by sedan limo from her place in Kalamazoo, about two hours west. It was December 23, two days before Christmas. I would have been willing to drive both ways to pick her up and return her home, but she had been insisting for years that it took too much time away from our holiday preparations. She had stopped driving, sort of voluntarily but after lots of drama, in the fall of 2009. Mom had flown over on a few occasions at Christmastime but had experienced flight delays and cancellations. Even if flying had been uneventful for her, Mom was no longer able to handle the chaos of airport travel.
My husband, Joe, had recommended that we try a sedan service in lieu of flying. It was a great idea—perfect, in fact. I wish I had thought of it. It was so much better than the airlines and about the same cost. They were prompt and carried cell phones. For as flawless as this arrangement seemed to us, for some reason my mom grumbled about traveling by limo and sitting in the backseat.
"They're supposed to chauffer you," my husband had explained to her with a chuckle. "In a cab, you sit in the back and enjoy the ride over."
She grunted, but strangely she had also started to ramble sometimes about taking a cab to Grand Rapids, an hour north of Kalamazoo, and picking up a flight there.
"Grand Rapids is a bigger airport than podunk Kalamazoo, so maybe their flights won't be canceled," she argued.
My mom used a lot of words like podunk, as well as one-liners, quotes, and proverbs for everything. Joe and I both tried to understand her clearly flawed thinking.
"Mom, it would take more time and more money—the cost of the cab and a flight—plus it would take you at least four hours instead of two. Why would you take a cab to Grand Rapids for one hour when you could be halfway to our house?"
She had no logical response because there wasn't one. I couldn't seem to get through to her. Her reasoning, or lack of it, actually, puzzled me. I had been noticing intermittent memory issues, flawed judgment, and strange remarks for some time. Then, at other times, she was spot on. I avoided any further confrontation about her goofy cab/flight plan. When she said she would "look into it," I just said, "Okay. Let me know what you find out." She never did.
My stepson, Chris; his wife, Ali; and our newest grandchild, Mia, then eleven weeks old, were also coming for the holidays. My daughter Angie and her husband, Ryan, were visiting her in- laws in Traverse City in northern Michigan. My other daughter, Christie; son-in–law, Chris; and twenty-one-month-old grandson, Isaac, would also be celebrating the holidays with us, making for a festive and fun family group.
My mom was planning to stay at my house for three nights, December 23–26. The first clue that things were a little amiss was when I saw her rummaging through her suitcase. She was "looking for something" but couldn't tell me what. I saw that she had packed six bras and maybe eight pair of underwear but no extra socks. No problem, I figured. She can borrow some of mine. Okay, so she was a little off on the undies. Also, she had pajamas but no robe. Robes, especially winter ones, were a little bulky to pack, so I loaned one to her, as well as some extra socks.
Then I noticed that her sweater was uncharacteristically dirty. At first I assumed it was stained permanently, but as I scratched my finger over the discolored streak, I realized something brownish was sloughing off in my hand—chocolate.
"Mom," I said gently, "this is a little dirty. Maybe I can wash it for you?"
"Sure. You can do my laundry anytime," she answered.
As the designated laundry fairy, I was on a mission to search for and rescue her dirty clothes. The slacks she was wearing were soiled too. This is so not my mom, I thought. She was a meticulous dresser and never would have gone anywhere with grubby clothes except out in the yard. I organized a laundry coup and started snatching her pants and sweater after she got ready for bed.
A week earlier, I had actually e-mailed her a checklist of what to pack, but she claimed that she couldn't print from the computer center at Friendship Village because "it's their paper." My parents had moved into Friendship Village, a senior independent-living facility, in 1999. I had suspected for some time that the problem was that she couldn't remember how to print or even to print, rather than a lack of permission to use the paper. I had even bought her a package of printing paper to use as she needed since she had mentioned this issue before. Packing for a short trip to my house was not a new experience for her, nor a difficult one, but clearly she had made several errors. It would not be long before I would be impressed that she had done this well rather than this poorly.
Christmas Day was delightful with bubbly, twenty-one-month-old Isaac ripping paper off the presents and sticking bows on his shirt, plus it was our first opportunity to meet eleven-week-old baby Mia.
My mom was a very generous person but had stopped shopping some time before, so Joe and I weren't expecting to have anything to open, nor was it necessary. Typically she wrote checks for her granddaughters and either mailed them before the holidays or handed them out in person if she was going to see them. She usually gave checks to Joe and me as well.
After dinner and dessert, we gathered back in the living room on Christmas evening. My mom was sitting on the couch next to her granddaughter Christie. Mom was rifling through her purse like she had done with her suitcase, "looking for something" that she couldn't identify. I watched her somewhat disorganized and purposeless searching. She took her wallet out and then put it back in. She took it out again, set it in her lap, and then drove her hand back into the black purse like a child grabbing for a handful of candy. Next, she took out her checkbook, opened it, stared at it, and put it back in her purse. When she took out a clearly used Kleenex and put it back in, I walked over to intervene.
"How are you doing, Mom? Have you had a nice day?" I asked. "I'm glad you're here with us." I carefully confiscated the dirty tissue and cupped it in my hand to dispose of later.
"I'm looking for my checkbook," she said. "I can't find it." She was definitely frustrated and moving her hands more quickly but randomly.
"I think it's in your purse. Is that it?" I offered as I pointed directly at the edge of her lavender checkbook cover embossed with Garfield and Odie.
She didn't answer me as she removed it for a second time and opened it up. I noticed that there were two checkbook packs but no check register. I sat on the armrest of the couch while she ruffled through the pages so I could see clearly.
"Did you send a check to Angie this year? I know you don't really shop much anymore."
"Yes. Well, no. I don't think so. I'm going to." Her reply was choppy. "I didn't write one for you and Joe either."
"You don't have to give us a check, Mom. We're just glad you came," I said as she pulled out a pen and attempted to start writing a check to us anyway.
"What's the date?" she asked, seriously unable to recall it. I suppressed an inappropriate chuckle.
"December 25," I answered.
She smiled as she looked up at me and said sheepishly, "Of course," as she shook her head.
Well, I thought, at least that piece is intact.
Chris was going to put Isaac to bed, so the little guy made the rounds, doling out hugs and kisses. Ali had already taken baby Mia upstairs. Meanwhile, my mom had managed to finish writing a check to Joe and me and handed it to me. It was for fifty-five dollars. What a strange amount, I thought, but I thanked her anyway of course. It was painful to watch. I tried to help her by asking questions, hoping I could really do something purposeful.
"Did you send a check to Angie?" I asked again. I knew she had not given one to Christie and Chris so far, so I suspected that she had not mailed one out to Angie either.
"No. I don't think so. Not yet."
Christie was watching her grandmother as intently as I was. Mom had pulled a blank Christmas card from her purse. I thought it was fortuitous that she had planned ahead to bring cards. She tried over and over to address the card with Christie's name. First, she spelled it with a K. She scratched that out and wrote it with a y ending rather than an ie. I could see Christie's furled brow and soft pout reflect how sad she felt inside to see her grandma struggling. I rested my chin in my hand, fanned my fingers apart to camouflage my own facial expressions of disappointment. Mom put the card down and stared at her checkbook, poring over it as if she was hoping for some inspiration and direction on what to do next. She apparently attempted to write numbers, but they were indecipherable, resembling random scratch marks. I wanted to do something to help her, but my previous offers had been ignored and I didn't want to frustrate her more.
Then Mom turned her head and looked at me with a very tense expression on her face. She said she couldn't think and needed to "figure it out." From there, she went upstairs. I waited about a half hour before I went up to see how she was doing. She had Christmas cards out—one labeled "Joe and Elaine," one labeled "Angie" but without her husband's name—and was attempting to write another one to Christie as I slowly walked in. She had written another check to us for 150 dollars and checks with odd amounts for the girls. I wasn't sure what to do, so I just offered to help if she wanted me to. This time she accepted gratefully, and together we finished the two checks to her granddaughters and the remaining cards.
I didn't realize I was still holding the fifty-five dollar check in my hand. She saw it, took it, stared at the amount, and said, "Did I write this? What a strange amount. What was I thinking?"
I didn't know, but I certainly wanted to. Cautiously, I asked, "Would you like me to look through your checkbook? Maybe I could help straighten it out a little?"
Her previously stressed expression melted away as she smiled and looked up at me, almost with puppy-dog eyes, and said, "Yes. I would like that."
It was a disaster. There was no ledger. She had two check packets with checks missing out of sequence. Clearly she could not manage her banking anymore. With yet another brilliant idea from my husband, I took over all of the bills and the existing account. We opened a second one for her so she could preserve some financial autonomy. She wrote out only a smattering of checks to Saint Augustine's Church and a few other people, though, before more signs of trouble were apparent. The second account would not be open for long.
Excerpted from I Will Never Forget by Elaine C. Pereira Copyright © 2012 by Elaine C. Pereira. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsChapter 1 Christmas Clues and Catastrophes....................1
Chapter 2 What's in a Name?....................10
Chapter 3 Perfect Little Paws....................13
Chapter 4 Horses, Trains, and Automobiles....................17
Chapter 5 Elizabeth and Margene....................22
Chapter 6 House of Dreams....................29
Chapter 7 Cooking Chemistry and Cauliflower....................32
Chapter 8 Dragon Tales....................36
Chapter 9 Dining Magic and Disasters....................41
Chapter 10 Fickle, Fat Feline....................51
Chapter 11 Shopping Sleuths....................55
Chapter 12 Trinkets and Trash....................61
Chapter 13 Money Laundering....................64
Chapter 14 Wicked Weight and Wigs....................71
Chapter 15 Teacher's Pet....................76
Chapter 16 The Ménière's Monster....................78
Chapter 17 Hidden in Plain Sight....................85
Chapter 18 Car Crazies and Other Crap....................91
Chapter 19 Hard-Boiled Eggs....................100
Chapter 20 Not a Stroke of Genius....................111
Chapter 21 Blind to the Signs....................115
Chapter 22 Death by Inches....................120
Chapter 23 From Vice to Valedictorian....................128
Chapter 24 Angel Antics....................139
Chapter 25 Finicky Finances....................150
Chapter 26 Pretty in Pink....................157
Chapter 27 Undercover Daughter....................160
Chapter 28 The Ugly Truth....................166
Chapter 29 The Spirit of Oberon....................176
Chapter 30 Macabre Mother's Day....................179
Chapter 31 The Hunt Is On....................185
Chapter 32 The Calm before the Storm....................190
Chapter 33 Precision Pitch and Pack....................194
Chapter 34 Dementia Demons in Disguise....................203
Chapter 35 Petite but Perverse....................210
Chapter 36 An Assisted Journey....................216
Chapter 37 Mom Is My Angel....................226
Chapter 38 Houdini Mom....................231
Chapter 39 Final Passage....................242
Chapter 40 Joining Her Boys....................250
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I WILL NEVER FORGET: A DAUGHTER'S STORY OF HER MOTHER'S ARDUOUS AND HUMOROUS JOURNEY THROUGH DEMENTIA by Elaine Pereira is an interesting Biography/Memoir/Women/Medical. Everyone who has ever cared for or had a loved one with Dementia needs to read this thought provoking,but heartwarming,story. Written with vivid descriptions with some humorous moments,but heartbreaking as well, a memoir of a daughter's mother. A journey through Dementia as well as the effects not only on the person but also on the family. Dementia effects hundreds if not thousands of people in this country. It is a gut-wretching illness that ravages the mind,takes away their memoirs,their thinking abilities,their ability to focus and their judgement.This is a true story told by a loving daughter,who has lost and is losing her beloved mother to Dementia. A touching story. A must read for any caregiver! Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: NONE(MEMOIR) REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews
Dementia Victimizes Family Members As Well As Its Victims Author Elaine Pereira is entirely correct – there are some things we will never forget as special sets of circumstances will remain with us forever. For Pereira, those memories etched in memory, relate to caring for her mother as she is ravaged by the effects of dementia. Those permanent memories are shared in her book, “I Will Never Forget: A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey through Dementia.” There are several humorous incidents shared in “I Will Never Forget,” but there are also many moving and poignant accounts of the painstaking role of being a caretaker for your mother who increasingly forgets who your area. Those who have undertaken the role of caretaker for an aging loved one knows how emotional draining that experience is as well as being rewarding once in a while. But in the end, which always comes, there is no regret. “In I Will Never Forget”, Elaine Pereira gives a lot of very helpful advice based on lessons she learned while caring for her mother. And so the book becomes therapeutic, instructional, and informational as well as being a highly moving personal account of how dementia corrals victims like a rancher corrals horses. Even if you have not undertaken the care of a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, chances are great you will if you outlive your parents, siblings, relatives or close friends. Between then and now would be an opportune time to read “I Will Never Forget”. I recommend you do.
Reading this book felt like listening to the memories of your friend. In this intense memoir, the author, Elaine, shares with you about her deceased mother. Her matter-of-fact way of writing is the main advantage to the novel. You do not exaggerate to your friend, when you speak about the memories of your mother, right? This is a memoir from Elaine about her mother, Betty, who suffered with Dementia. Elaine's memories go back and forth, when she describes her kind and energetic mother. She brings out the memories where her independent and strong mother turned her daughter into a proper resourceful woman to the society. The way how Betty handled Elaine, who checks her every Christmas present be treating the gift to various environment, is one best example. When Elaine takes the role of taking care of her mother, things were different. I am really surprised that Elaine can bring so much of her memories about her mother in such great detail. The writing is casual and friendly. I am not sure how many are capable of narrating this type of loss in a sweet, heartfelt, humorous (I am really surprised and impressed) way. This memoir will be a tribute to her mother! Note: I am not going to rate such real-life novels, but I guess Amazon needs some rating. So, 4.5 STARS!
As I finished reading Elaine C. Pereira’s book, I Will Never Forget, I found myself sobbing. The sentiments she writes of in the poem at the end really describes so much of the experience she shared with her mom. Please do not misunderstand my sobbing at the end of the book, because it is not a depressing tear-jerker. I cried because I am living some of the same scenes and I fully understand the up and down roller coaster of needing to know when to hold on and when to let go. Betty Ward was a very caring mother of two sons, David and Jerry, one daughter, Elaine, and the devoted wife to F.Wayne Ward. The book begins with the Christmas setting of 1962 as Elaine explains about her love of shaking the wrapped Christmas presents in the hopes of guessing the contents. I had to grin, because my sisters and I have done the same thing. The next chapter merges to the Christmas of 2009 with Betty arriving to spend the holiday with Elaine and her family. During the course of the next couple of days, Elaine will notice changes in her mothers behavior and appearance which alerts her to problems. This seems to be the beginning of a decline in Bettys abilities to live on her own. Elaine and her husband Joe begin to suspect Betty needs more help than it appears. Read the book to discover how easily a patient with early stage Dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease can present a very lucid front to family during short visits. Astonishingly, even her long time internist did not understand the depth of Betty’s limitations. I am so glad that Elaine wrote about the very simple and basic questions which are asked the patient to determine if he or she is compromised in their thinking, memory, and reasoning abilities. It is a very easy task for the impaired person to answer those questions and therefore it hampers a correct diagnosis and competent actions for the patient. Elaine must travel two hours from her home to visit with her mom at the retirement village where she has lived for more than ten years. As Betty’s symptoms become more prominent and her actions more aggressive, Elaine must consider moving her mom to a care facility closer to her own home. This is a very important consideration due to Betty’s condition. Once you take a dementia patient from their well know environment, it can be catastrophic for their mental well being. So, how will Elaine balance the need for extra care for her mother and the possibility that the move will cause more mental distress? There are other major events which happen in Elaine's family as she juggles a busy life with her husband, daughters, mother, and job. I do not want to write spoilers, but the devastation of cancer appears in her family. How do you tell a mother with limited emotional resources that her child is suffering a fatal illness? I Will Never Forget, is a very good resource book for anyone who is facing the possibility of longtime care for a parent or sibling in the throes of dementia. Read the book and you will get a glimpse of the questions you need to ask yourself regarding your own ability to provide care and support. The occurrences of neglect and injury arise even when Betty is a resident in a very ‘secure’ care environment. Oh, I was upset as I read this event! The title of this book is a reference to memory. I will Never Forget, will remind you to keep a journal of this journey with your loved one. Include memories from your past fun times, and family events of happier times in the journal as Elaine Pereira has done in this book. It help the caregiver to keep a better perspective of life....not just the sorrowful times, but the happy memories of a loving mother as well.
I Will Never Forget, by Elaine Pereira, is a touching story of how a daughter dealt with life having a mother with dementia. Pereira really allows her audience to get right into the mother-daughter journey, and makes it feel like you were there experiencing the whole thing with them. It is a very warm and heartfelt journey. The story will take you through a roller coaster of emotions while you see the joy that they share, as well as the pain that they experience! You will laugh, you will cry, and you will feel just outright frustrated with this illness that shows no end. Great job to Pereira for sharing this lovely story. By letting her audience into this part of her life, she sets herself apart from other authors. She allows us to experience this wonderful journey that she went through and it's definitely one worth reading! I would recommend this book to any and everyone!
This is a beautiful memoir.The author Elaine Pereira has written a book that holds the many memories her mother has forgotten. While sharing the realities and difficulties that come with dimentia, Elaine artfully describes a daughter watching her mother become someone she never would have imagined. The story intertwines memories of Elaine's early life, memories from her friends, her family, and especially Elaine.This is such a difficult topic to share and yet, Pereira has done it in a very respectful and honest way. A wonderful gift to herself and her mother whom I'm sure would be very proud.This book would be a good recommendation for anyone who knows someone or cares for someone with dimentia. A very heartwarming, although painful at times, read!
“I Will Never Forget” is the true story of an aging woman with dementia, as told by her daughter. Betty Ward was a strong woman. During her lifetime, she buried her infant son, her husband and her other son. Now her time was coming. Her daughter, Elaine, wrote this story very well. It is very difficult watching someone you love have their memory erased slowly. Luckily for Elaine, she had the wonderful support of her husband and family. Some of her chapters start with Betty as a child, then the same type of situation, but later on in life. Other chapters are pieces of childhood memories as told by some of Betty’s friends. Everyone loved Betty, and she had a great network of doctors and professionals who cared for her and wanted the best treatment for her. As someone who also had a family member with dementia, it can be very frustrating at times. You feel you are constantly repeating the same things over and over. You tend to ignore the early warning signs, even though others are giving you glimpses of what is happening when you are not around. You chalk things up to stress, aging and other factors of life. Written through the eyes of her daughter, it is one person’s journey through the good times and the bad. Hopefully you will find some humor along the difficult path, and know that you are not alone, others have gone through this terrible disease of the mind.
This book dives into the life of Betty Ward told from the perspective of her daughter Elaine. Elaine bounces back and forth between different years showing the independent and strong woman she knew her mother to be before dementia took over. Elaine is an extremely strong person, like her mother, to be able to not only handle watching her mother turn into a stranger, but being able to write about it and include some quite humorous parts. Don't think this book is all gloom and doom ending with the inevitable, this is a book that truly shows the mother Elaine knew best and all the memorable parts that she experienced throughout their lives. Elaine writes a great book, I felt like I could relate to a lot of the memories she had with her mother. You don't have to have experience with dementia to enjoy this book. You can really feel each emotion that Elaine experienced, from joyous moments to the hard times, and everything in between. I took great pleasure in reading this book, and I fully sympathize with Elaine and her family. She handled such an intense and stressful time in her life with such grace. Pick this book up if you enjoy a heartfelt story with a strong female lead. I give this book 5/5.
If ever a book told an amazing story of anyone, this is it! The author's Mother's incredible, complicated, tragic and beautiful life is told in such stunning detail, I was immersed from the first sentence. I cried, laughed, cringed and sighed at the end with sadness and joy! Please get this book. Now a 4 award winner: Finalist USA Book Award for Best New Non-Fiction; Honorable Mention Hollywood Festival;
Dementia is not funny by any stretch of the imagination. However the author manages to find humor in some of her experiences with her mom as she navigates this unpredictable journey. A must read for anyone who has a loved one dealing with dementia
Loved the book!! The aurhor is honest and open about her feelings You will enjoy this well written story. It makes you think, laugh, and cry
Well written. Holds your interest until the end. Your heart will be touched. I have shared the book with several friends and they all have loved the book
True stories make the best books. Touching and humorous. Great book
A book that is hard to put down once you begin reading. This story hits home with anyone who has ever had a loved one suffer with dementia. Two thumbs up!
This book is heartfelt and humorus, very good book!
Great bood very well written
In a word, the book is riveting!
It's awesome! She has an award winning book and in fact just received an Honorable Mention in non-fiction from 2012 Hollywood Book Festival!!!
I Will Never Forget by Elaine Pereira is the true story of her mother's decline from dementia. This book is easy to read, humorous, honest, insightful and at times heartbreaking as we watch Elaine say the long good-bye to her mom. I couldn't put the book down. It really hits home. Recently my mother was also diagnosed with dementia. I have recommended I Will Never Forget to all my family and friends.
This book is a lovely tribute to the most important person in many of our lives, a mother. I was glad it didn't delve into the technical medical details of dementia, but only showed its effect on the person who suffered the with the disease, and how that, in turn, affected others. The author's portrayal of the debilitating and devastating effect of her mother Betty's dementia is even more poignant as she parallels it with the time when Betty functioned normally. This brought back so many memories of my own experiences with losing loved ones. In hindsight, it is so much easier to see all the signs and interpret them for what they are. But living through the decline of a loved one, we try to deny the possibility that anything is wrong. After acceptance of the disease comes the time when we have to let our parent know it is okay for them to let go. I, too, will never forget the wonderful woman my own mother was.
I was curious to start reading I Will Never Forget. It’s a book of so much help to those in charge of someone close to them who is struggling with dementia. What I loved about this book from the very beginning was the shifting back and forth between the past and the present. The author uses this technique to best present her mother. The little stories and moments presented are so vivid and create a clear image of the woman her mother was in her youth, establishing the contrast for the woman her mother became in her last years. Probably these were my favourite parts, seeing glimpses of both the author and her mother’s past. Giving the specific years was also helpful as it helps the reader pin point the exact moments of the stories. The author is transparent in her telling of the story. Maybe “story” is not the best word as it makes one think of things not really true, and this writing bubbles with authenticity. The book is written having her mother at the center of the narration. The portrait she created for her mother is gorgeous. I for one could see the gap between the Betty of the past and the Betty of the later days. Clearly the author had a great relationship with her mother (as she has with her daughters), and after the loss of her father and her older brother, she was the only one in her family who could care for her mother. I can’t speak from experience, but I image how hard it must be to deal with all the administrative aspects of caring for someone, in the same time making sure the person you care for is comfortable, feels loved, and you appear brave and put together. I admire her (and I think this gives authenticity to the book) willingness to accept her faults and I felt for her when she expressed her regret in not paying more attention to the early signs of dementia. That’s just a daughter’s desire to keep her mother’s old self for as long as possible. But once things were set in motion, Elaine (the author), was nothing short of game on! Her dedication, her juggling of all things that needed to be taken care of, adding to her mother’s illness the responsibilities of everyday life, her relationship with her husband (who was supportive at all times. I love their relationship!), her desire to be there for and involved in her daughters and grandchildren’s lives, all these are a lot! I, as a detached reader in the beginning, was nothing short of impressed and respectful of her ability to carry all things to completion. This is such a helpful read for those who are caring for someone affected by dementia. While it’s not a practical “how to” book, it gives insight into someone else’s history and dealing with the disease. It sure makes one feel less alone. At one point I got the feeling that the whole book is just a writing therapy, writing to get things in order, to see them written down and possibly to make sense of them all. The writing is lovely and I also enjoyed the chapter titles, every time I started a new one I couldn’t help but smile. I recommend this book. ***This book is also special because the author herself contacted me via email via Book Blogger List and offered this book (ePub format) for review. I am so glad she did. All thoughts expressed in this post, however, are my own.
A personal eye-opener to a very personal struggle Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Elaine and her mother have a special relationship, the kind every parent and child strive for. They have their ups and downs, but they both know the love and support of the other is there. That comes into play in a slow crawl towards dementia for Elaine's mother, Betty. First, it's the little things, but it slowly gets worse as time goes by, and Elaine has chronicled that journey, both for her mother as well as herself, in this wonderful book. I used to work for a Neurology clinic where we saw many patients with Dementia, and while I could recognize the signs and symptoms because of that, it's understandable how someone so close to the person could miss them, or push them aside as something else. To see how Elaine and the rest of her family coped with this illness, and for her to share such a personal story in such a public way, is very awe-inspiring, and I wish both her and the rest of her family all the best. I feel as though this book could help open someone's eyes to what a family member or friend might be experiencing, and while it's a very emotional read, I would recommend everyone I know to give it a shot for that very reason. 5 stars
Copy received from Fire and Ice Book Tours for an honest review Four stars This was a very sweet and beautiful memoire about a daughter’s quest to help her mother with dementia. I was instantly interested in this book because I really enjoy reading peoples story. I think there is always something important to learn. “I Will Never Forget” was a very beautiful/ sad /inspiring example of that type of book. I loved Elaine was so honest and candid with her experience. I also really loved that the book didn’t focus on only the dementia but the family history. It was helpful in understanding the family unit. Little stories like how she was named Elaine made this family real and relateable. I also really enjoyed how the author intertwined different moments from the past and the present. It felt like a conversation, someone sitting down with you and telling you their story. Elaine doesn't sugar cot the difficulties that she had when she learned her mother had dementia nor everything that followed. She also didn’t paint anyone as being super human, everyone was fallible and very human. I really admired this because when reflecting on events we tend to want to make ourselves look better, but the brutal and raw honesty is what really got to me. Elaine’s story and her mom’s battle with dementia was everyone’s story. I want to thank the author for sharing this incredibly difficult journey. I can honestly say I feel like a better person after having read this book. Even though the subject of dementia is not a light subject, I liked that the author didn’t make it seem like a dark subject. I thought it was a very honest and upright conversation about how she, as a daughter, struggled with taking care of her mom and her own vulnerabilities. I highly recommend and enjoyed this memoir.
There are many reasons why you should grab a copy of this book. Of course, the main reason is the fact that it talks about the great relationship between the mother and her child. It showcases a different kind of love story - one that doesn't end... one that lasts 'til eternity. Another reason for getting a copy of this book is that it's an eye-opener. "I Will Never Forget" reminds everyone that people who are suffering from dementia are those who need extra care and support. They are the ones who deserve the high level of support. And lastly, the book can make you appreciate all the days you spend with your loved ones!