Buckets And Other Lists: A Guest Post from Award-Winning Memoirist, Elaine Pereira

Last Updated on: March 30th, 2018

Please welcome memoir writer Elaine Pereira! She has written today’s post. Currently, I am reading her book, I Will Never Forget. Soon, I will have an interview with Elaine for you – along with my review. For now, get to know Elaine and learn about her struggles — and her achievements!

Buckets And Other Lists: Writing A Book Was NEVER On My Horizon

I’m one of those annoyingly organized people: a multi-tasking extraordinaire who makes lists for practically everything.  When my mental To-Do list tops three items, I grab paper and a pen and scribble away.

Yeah, I know, all of you techno wizards are rolling your eyes:  paper and pen!  How archaic!  I’m trying to convert to using the Note section of my iPhone exclusively, but it’s a work in progress.  In the meantime, there are far more stashes of pencils, pens, markers and an occasional lipstick tube when I’m desperate and just remembered something important than there are iPhones.

Having retired from the traditional work force in 2010, the phrase “Bucket List” now occupies a file heading in addition to my never ending To-Do list, which is recycled, rewritten, abbreviated, amended, lost, found and/or pitched constantly.

Truthfully, I’m not a fan of the adjective “bucket” describing my dream vacation, a masterful project still brewing in my creative mind or a once-a-year event like the Indy 500 or Mardi Gras.  But it appears to have evolved from the notion of fulfilling a once-in-a-lifetime pursuit before you “kick the bucket.”  Since the words “Bucket List” are so universally recognized, I’ll roll with it too.

The Bucket List my husband and I have developed is virtually endless and wonderfully unachievable!  For every item we accomplish, we add another and in that way it will go on indefinitely.  This year we attended the Detroit Tigers Baseball home opener.  We’ve also scratched off hot air ballooning and an exploration of antiquities, specifically the Parthenon in Greece!  We each have a personalized sub-list as there are a few adventures unique to us as individuals; he’ll skip hang-gliding and I’ll pass on a wrestling match.

But writing a book was never on either of our bucket lists!  For me, it just evolved and practically wrote itself.

My mother’s story is a story that needed to be told.  She was a kind, brilliant and talented woman all of my life until Dementia took hold, distorting her persona and leaving an agitated, bewildered and compromised person in its wake.

In the shadows of WWII, during an era when very few women attended college, my trailblazing mother earned her Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry and later on acquired a Master’s in Education.  Many years later, though, after experiencing a decade of unspeakable tragedies, Mom began to exhibit uncharacteristic and disconcerting changes in her personality.  Episodes of irrational behaviors, paranoia, flashes of hostility and illogical thinking, replaced her formally patient, bright, organized and articulate essence.

In what would be her final months, as my mother continued her rapid descent into Dementia’s clutches, her once strong voice faded away.   Our quiet visits together afforded me the opportunity to reflect on the vivacious life that defined her.  I was determined that she would not be remembered as a withering, mumbling older woman but as the strong, courageous and gifted lady who was my mom!

And thus the book emerged.  Rambling drafts became polished paragraphs, punctuated, written, scrapped, rewritten, reorganized and re-edited.  A wealth of delightful childhood memories took life in black on white as I passionately chronicled my mother’s story.  Superb vignettes from her past and mine were juxtaposed with dramatic, almost unbelievable, events reflecting her steady break from reality under Alzheimers’ spell.

Even as my mom was slipping away to “Rejoin Her Boys” her memory, her story, her journey, were being immortalized for the benefit of others.  I am humbled and honored to have been able to give back to the woman who gave so much and blessed to have many great friends and family who supported me in my endeavor to write I Will Never Forget.

Related Posts:

Listen to a radio broadcast and/or check out an interview of Elaine’s.

Learn more about Dementia through a five-part series:

  • How to Communicate With Someone With Alzheimer’s – Part 1: Touch
  • How to Communicate With Someone With Alzheimer’s – Part 2: Sound & Hearing
  • How to Communicate With Someone With Alzheimer’s – Part 3: Aroma & Smell
  • How to Communicate With Someone With Alzheimer’s – Part 4: Taste
  • How to Communicate With Someone With Alzheimer’s – Part 5: Vision

Elaine Pereira is a registered/licensed Occupational Therapist with more than 35 years experience in pediatrics and a decade in adult home care.  She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in OT and her Master’s in Liberal Arts from Wayne State University.  Elaine also holds Certifications as a Dementia Caregiver and Practitioner. She and her husband Joseph live in southeastern Michigan.  Visit her blog for more information.

I Will Never Forget is Elaine’s powerful award-winning memoir written in loving tribute to her talented mother’s bizarre but humorous journey through Dementia.  Elaine donates from each book she sells to Alzheimer’s research.  

You can also read Unexpected but Delightful Insights from My Mom with Alzheimer’s, another post Elaine wrote, or you can simply grab a copy of her book to read from  AmazonBarnes & Noble, or  iUniverse.

YOUR TURN:

Have you ever known anyone with Dementia? Do you have any comments for Elaine, or questions? Connect with her in the comment section! (Note that your comment and reply won’t appear until I authorize it. Sorry for the delay!)

Do you fear  YOU might end up with dementia someday? Please share your thoughts. We both want to hear from you!

23 thoughts on “Buckets And Other Lists: A Guest Post from Award-Winning Memoirist, Elaine Pereira

  1. This article touches the nerve center of my fear for my future. My short term memory lapses are scary. Nobody knows my story as well as I do, thankfully I saved all the emails because now I’m able to share a magical fairytale internet romance that turned into a reality more wonderful than a dream before its lost.

  2. says

    Hi Ladies,
    Lovely post about something that often touches us all. The loss of our parents. I am starting to see this with my grandparents and those of my partner. It is a sad and horrible time, but as you mentioned also a time to reflect and perhaps celebrate their amazing lives.!
    thanks for sharing
    ashley

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Hi, Ashley! You know that men always welcome here. 😉

      I can relate to this a bit with my aging dad who’s in his seventies now and is often forgetful. My mom is still in her sixties and is pretty sharp. My grandparents have all passed on already. It’s good to remember the good times and, as you say, celebrate their lives. In fact, with all the modern technology, more people should make recordings (video, audio, slideshows, books, etc.) of their stories to show future generations. Maybe you and your family should consider doing this!

  3. My mom doesn’t have dementia, but years of being heavily sedated on various pills for manic depression and psychosis has definitely left her memory with some gaps. It can be hard to talk about past events with her, since she remembers things differently due to being on meds. I wonder at times if she will have even more memory problems as she ages. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Thank you Jeri for responding also. Although my immediate family has not walked your journey, as an occupational therapist with a strong background in neurology, I completely understand medically what you are referring to. It is sadly likely her memory decline will continue, although the alternative (i.e. w/o meds) is probably worse and contraindicated anyway.

  4. Hi Lorraine; Want to thank you for sharing Elaine’s post with us. I’m sure her book will be a great read for anyone who is dealing with a parent suffering through dementia or alsheimers. I hope that not too long after the book comes out that it will be released in audio form. I don’t know the process for getting one read and included by the national library service for the blind but they are big on inspirational topics so perhaps elaine or her publisher can check into that. I think it is great that elaine decided to keep the true image of her mother alive through this book. thanks to both of you and take care, max

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Max, thanks for your comment. The book is out already, but I don’t know if it’s available in audio format. I think Elaine might reply to you, too, so she’ll let you know for sure. If it isn’t, then maybe you just gave her a great idea!

    • Maxwell, Thanks you for your reply and complimentary remarks.

      I have explored doing an audio version of the book, but I took on so much expense this year with a huge, wonderful marketing/publicist program that I will have to wait. It is on my “bucket” or endless To-Do” list.

  5. becc03 says

    You have done what I have not yet. My mothers story needs to be told as well. I would love it to be me that tells it, but am not sure it is on my bucket list. Our mothers sound very similar with the exception of the dementia which thankfully she does not have.

    • Becc03: Looking back I am sometimes amazed that the book is actually alive. My husband has an expression called “coming out of ether.” Essentially one accomplishes or does something, hopefully a good thing, while under some type of spell, fog, emotional haze or similar concept. When they finally emerge from the ether haze, they have accomplished something. My book was written under an ether cloud of grief. And what started as cathartic materialized into a beautiful final product.

      IF you decide to forge ahead, I would be happy to help if I can: [email protected]. Reading the book might help just to get an idea of the novel-like way it is written and the juxtaposition of timelines as opposed to chronological only.

  6. As I was reading this I was remembering my own mother. As was your Mom, mine was a strong independent and accomplish women ahead of her time. When she suffered a massive stroke the paralyzed one side of her body the mother I knew disappeared. In her last days She rallied and we had some amazing talks about her life, her regrets and you joys. I still cherish that memory.

  7. says

    I also scribble down my to-do lists on paper. Whenever I put it on my phone, I forget about it. I love that you keep adding to your bucket list. That’s the way it should be. Sounds like a moving book.Thanks for sharing and honoring your mum.

    • Thank you also for taking the time to post. My mother’s journey through Dementia was so incredible it would not be believable were is not true. I donate from each book sale to the Alzheimer’s Association. I Will Never Forget is the One Book on Dementia that No One Else could Write!

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