"As the lively, witty, energetic character who was her mother begins to become hopelessly lost in Alzheimer's, poet Jeanne Walker readily shoulders her share of caregiving, a commitment of love requiring three-hour plane rides: disrupting the rhythms of her own life as a wife, mother, and professor, disquieting her with grief, and taxing her relationship with her beloved sister almost to the breaking point.
Yet the narrative as a whole says much more. At some point, knowing so well the story of her mother's life, Walker begins to find her crazy communications intelligible-realizing that her mother is talking in metaphors and understanding them. The farther away her mother wanders, the closer their relationship. The love between them strengthens. Trying to follow the details of her mother's life as she recalls them, now, in fragments, Walker finds to her surprise that she is not only recovering her own childhood memories but also understanding them in a new way-a set of insights ranking among the most precious of her life.
In plainsong prose evoking her heartland roots, Jeanne Walker locates the gifts to be found in the darkest days of a loved one's decline and death, a story of redemption that will inform and encourage anyone caring or expecting to care for ill and aging parents-or anyone at all."—Peggy Anderson, author of New York Times bestsellers Nurse and Children's Hospital