Winner in the The Aging Category of the 2013 National Indie Excellence Book Awards; www.indieexcellence.com
Finalist in the Best New Non-Fiction category of The 2012 USA Book Award; USABookNews.com Honorable Mention Finalist in Non-Fiction in the 2012 Hollywood Book Festival
It is extremely difficult to watch a loved one decline as dementia ravages his or her mind, robbing him or her of memory, thinking abilities, and judgment. In her touching memoir, I Will Never Forget, Elaine C. Pereira shares the sometimes heartbreaking and occasionally humorous story of her mother’s journey through dementia, as seen through the eyes of her little girl.
Pereira begins by offering entertaining glimpses into her own childhood and feisty teenage years. Through it all, Pereira shares how her mom’s unconditional love and creative parenting style helped mold an opinionated young woman into a resourceful adult who eventually would move mountains on her mother’s behalf. As Betty Ward slowly begins to wander down the dark and narrow corridors of Alzheimer’s, Pereira details her mother’s amazing ability to mask the truth until something as innocuous as a drapery rod suddenly launches a waterfall of events. As their roles shift and a new paradigm forms, Pereira transforms into a caregiver who blindly navigates dementia’s unpredictable haze while her mother orchestrates Houdini-like disappearances and surprisingly rallies to take charge of her own destiny.
I Will Never Forget shares a powerful, emotional story that can help people affected by dementia take comfort in knowing that they are not alone.
My husband joined me sometimes, but usually I made a day trip by myself. My mom recovered fairly well, all things considered, after my dad’s and Jerry’s deaths.
After Mom’s Christmas packing debacle, I was more observant of her clothing choices and suspicious of her laundry skills. She had mentioned months earlier that Friendship Village had gotten new washers and dryers on each ﬂoor. I strongly suspected that she might not be able to transition to new appliances.
“What do you think of them?” I asked. “Are they better?” I was curious about how revealing her responses might be.
“I guess,” she answered. “I still have to refer to the manual.”Alarms went oﬀ in my head. Refer to the manual? I seriously doubted that she could read and process the directions for the washer and dryer, especially after seeing her in a trance with the company cauliﬂower recipe. I visually scanned the clothes she was wearing for stains or soil marks like an airport screener looking for evidence of weapons. She passed, at least this time. How tragic that the person who used to be so tastefully dressed could not recognize a dirt spot on a sweater or chocolate dribbles on her pants.
Elaine C. Pereira is a retired school occupational therapist who worked with special needs children. She earned her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Wayne State University and later completed her master’s degree. Pereira and her husband live in southeastern Michigan with their cat, Snoopy, and two dogs, Bailey and Maddee.