All Gone: A Memoir of My Mother's Dementia. With Refreshments

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Penguin, Sep 27, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 224 pages
16 Reviews
A daughter’s longing love letter to a mother who has slipped beyond reach.

Just past seventy, Alex Witchel’s smart, adoring, ultracapable mother began to exhibit undeniable signs of dementia. Her smart, adoring, ultracapable daughter reacted as she’d been raised: If something was broken, they would fix it. But as medical reality undid that hope, and her mother continued the torturous process of disappearing in plain sight, Witchel retreated to the kitchen, trying to reclaim her mother at the stove by cooking the comforting foods of her childhood: “Is there any contract tighter than a family recipe?” 

Reproducing the perfect meat loaf was no panacea, but it helped Witchel come to terms with her predicament, the growing phenomenon of “ambiguous loss ”— loss of a beloved one who lives on. Gradually she developed a deeper appreciation for all the ways the parent she was losing lived on in her, starting with the daily commandment “Tell me everything that happened today” that started a future reporter and writer on her way. And she was inspired to turn her experience into this frank, bittersweet, and surprisingly funny account that offers true balm for an increasingly familiar form of heartbreak.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Jennifer35k - LibraryThing

As a person who has a grandmother diagnosed with profound dementia and senile paranoia, I am constantly looking for information about elder care. It is both a comfort and upsetting to know that there ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - booksintheburbs - LibraryThing

A good book about a mother/daughter relationship! It was a difficult read, often sad, but just shows the way a daughter learns to accept her mother's challenges and accepts her mother's illness as it ... Read full review

Contents

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About the author (2012)

Alex Witchel is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine and originated the popular “Feed Me” column for the Dining section. The author of three previous books, she has also written for New York, Vogue, Elle, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among other publications. She lives in New York with her husband, Frank Rich.

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