Last Updated on: February 21st, 2016
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.
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 readUnexpected 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 fromAmazon,Barnes & Noble, or iUniverse.
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!