January 27, 2018
The Long Hello
The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me by Cathie Borrie
2016 Arcade Publishing (First published 2015 Simon & Schuster Canada)
Finished on February 25, 2017
Rating: 3/5 (Good)
A stirring memoir of a daughter caring for a mother with dementia that is sure to become a touchstone for many others.
The Long Hello explores the emotional rewards and challenges that Cathie Borrie experienced in caring for her mother, who was living with Alzheimer’s disease, for seven years. Between the two, a wondrously poetic dialogue develops, which Ms. Borrie further illuminates with childhood memories of her family, and her struggle to maintain a life outside her caregiving responsibilities. The Long Hello demonstrates how caregiving creates an opportunity to experience the change in a relationship that illness necessitates, one in which joy, innocence, and profound intimacy can flourish.
Written in spare, beautiful prose, largely in the form of a dialogue, The Long Hello exquisitely captures the intricacies and nuances of a daughter’s relationship with her mother.
I almost quit when I reached the halfway point, but since it's a very short memoir, I decided to continue. In spite of the terribly sad subject matter, the author does a nice job conveying her frustration and love as her mother's caretaker. Dementia or Alzheimer's is never definitively named, but the illness is there and as an only child, the author is the sole caregiver. She handles her mother's confusion and questions with grace and patience. I liked the book, but didn't love it.