Sunday 18 February 2018

Book ~ "Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss" (2017) Jann Arden

From Goodreads ~ Based on her hugely popular Facebook posts and Instagram photos, "Feeding My Mother" is a frank, funny, inspirational and piercingly honest account of the transformation in Jann Arden's life that has turned her into the primary "parent" to her mom, who is in the grip of Alzheimer's. 

Jann Arden moved in to a house just across the way from her parents in rural Alberta to be close to them but also so they could be her refuge from the demands of the music business and a performing career. Funny how time works. 

Since her dad died in 2015, Jann cooks for her mom five or six times a week. Her mom finds comfort in her daughter's kitchen, not just in the delicious food but also just sitting with her as she cooks. And Jann finds some peace in caring for her mom, even as her mom slowly becomes a stranger. "If you told me two years ago that I'd be here," Jann writes, "I wouldn't have believed it. And yet we still fall into so much laughter, feel so much insane gladness and joy. It's such a contrast from one minute to the next and it teaches me constantly: it makes me stronger and more humble and more empathetic and caring and kind." 

The many people who are dealing with a loved one who is losing it will find inspiration and strength in Jann's wholehearted, loving response and her totally Jann take on the upside-down world of a daughter mothering her mother. "Feeding My Mother" is one heck of an affirmation that life just keeps on keeping on and a wonderful example of how you have to roll with it. 

Jann Arden is Canadian singer, songwriter, broadcaster, actor and author.  She lived next door to her parents in rural Alberta.  Her father, Derrel, passed away in August 2015 after years of being ill, including dementia.  Her mother, Joan, still lives next door.  She is battling Alzheimer's and needs round-the-clock care.

This book is Jann's journey of taking care of her parents and watching them decline over the last eight years but being helpless to do anything about it.  She started cooking for them (there were days when they couldn't remember how use a can opener) and throughout the book are recipes of some of things she's made ... like turkey chili, chicken parm, split pea soup and pulled chicken noodle soup.  Also scattered throughout the book are pictures of Jann, her parents and their pets.

This is the second book of Jann's I've read (I read Falling Backwards a couple years ago and enjoyed it).  Despite the difficult subject, I enjoyed this book and Jann's personality comes through and I felt like she was sitting with me and chatting.  I liked the writing style ... it was amusing at times and honest.

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