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Carol D. O'Dell

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Mothering Mother
by Carol D. O'Dell   

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Publisher:  Kunati Publishing ISBN-10:  9781601640031 Type: 


Copyright:  January 2007

Barnes &

Mothering Mother is an authentic and "in-the-room" view of a daughter's struggle to care for an aging parent. It will touch you and never leave you. You will be astonished at Carol's brutal honesty. Her ability to narrate the feelings of the moment—love, grief, humor and even those moments of bitter resentment—will both reassure and arm you for the day when you may face a similar choice. Find out why, so many say, "I loved this book!"

"Yes Mother, we all want you."

This theme recurs throughout Carol D. O'Dell's bitingly humorous and unflinchingly honest memoir. Carol's mother has Parkinson's Disease and a heart condition and Carol's decision not to put her mother "in one of those homes" has far-reaching consequences for her family. She must learn to Mother her own mother. This refreshing and entertaining memoir will help baby boomers struggling with their own decisions on elder care in the home.

On a good day, Mother shuffles around with a fair gait, surprising us all. Parkinson’s is like that. The way I understand it is that the brain stops producing the Dopamine it needs to jolt the tiny charges that connect synapses and allow thought and movement to synergize. Sometimes Mother can walk pretty well, and other times, she’s frozen or jerky. We’re grateful for the good days when she explores the house, the furniture and whatnots, as if browsing in a fine department store, acting like she’s never seen these items before. I often find her standing in my pantry, hand deep in the Cheeze-Its.
Other days, bad days, I hear her faint call about eight in the morning coming from her apartment. I am not Miss Cheerful in the morning and avoid all conversation until at least nine, sometimes ten, not until my two cups of coffee have made a full lap around my bloodstream. I rise from my couch after her third call, lay my journal on the table, sip one last drop of the divine and allow myself to become her human walker.

Professional Reviews

I loved it. I lived it!
“I loved this book! I not only loved it, I lived it. I laughed, I smiled and shuddered reading this book. Her approach, sense of humor and ability to tell the whole truth will make you love it too. O’Dell has captured the essence of every Baby Boomer’s struggle to parent our parents.”
Judy H. Wright,
Author of over 20 books

Authentic and "In-The-Room"
“Mothering Mother provides an authentic and ‘in-the-room’ view of a daughter’s struggle to care for an aging parent with a progressing life—limiting illness. Those of us in the Baby-boomer generation will resonate with the emotional roller coaster that many of us have or are currently experiencing, or fear having to face with our own aging parents.”
Barry K. Baines, MD.
Author of Ethical Wills: Putting your Values on Paper
Perseus Publishing, 2002

Baby Boomers Identify
“As members of the much talked about “baby-boomer” generation, we all have one thing in common...parents who are aging. It is basically, our turn. It is parenting in reverse. And, in her book Mothering Mother, Carol O’Dell has captured the essence of our struggle, our delight, and the many lessons learned in caring for her aged mother, that in the end it is worth it.”
Dr. Leslie L. Daniels
Graduate Program Coordinator, Criminal Justice Program
Florida Metropolitan University

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Reader Reviews for "Mothering Mother"

Reviewed by Cheryl Kaye Tardif 4/24/2007
5/5 Stars
New – Non-Fiction

A Wonderful, Heartfelt Memoir

Carol O’Dell, author of her debut memoir Mothering Mother, will make you laugh and cry. Her heartfelt chronicle about caring for her dying mother is an emotional tribute to self-sacrifice and a daughter’s unfailing love¯an adopted daughter’s love, to be more precise.

Carol’s mother adopted her late in life and raised her in a strict, religious environment. But it perhaps is their faith that kept them all together until the end. Although she has her faults and may seem somewhat cool at times, Mama did the best she could, and I think that is the realization that the author has come to. And certainly, it is what we all should hope to conclude at the end of our parents’ lives.

The author shows us her own strength and her weaknesses, baring her thoughts, her emotions, her decisions and her very soul in a way that takes more courage than many of us would have. A loving daughter with a mother who suffers from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, she takes her mother into her home, working around a husband and kids, and fighting the inevitable. Faced with the deteriorating health of a stubborn mother, Carol is faced with countless tasks in any given day or night, tasks that threaten to destroy her physically, mentally and spiritually. Many of the anecdotes are charming and hilarious, while others are heartbreakingly sad.

I recently bought a copy for my own mother¯for Mother’s Day¯even though my mom is healthy, still working and independent. And while this may seem a strange gift, I felt that Carol O’Dell’s book shows a glimmer of light at the end of what most people view as a dark tunnel. She shows that sometimes being prepared is half the battle. Perhaps then, many of us would not feel as though too many things were left undone, unsaid…unforgiven.

Mothering Mother is a beautiful story, a true story, of how love can conquer even death. I’ve never laughed and cried at the same time so much. It made me want to call my mom and tell her how much I love her. It made me talk to my daughter and tell her that if she ever had to care for me and felt that I was too much of a burden, that it was okay to look for alternate care.

I’ll be honest; I normally don’t read a lot of memoirs. I often find them hard to relate to. But I LOVED Mothering Mother! It is the type of book that everyone should read. It will stay with you long after you have put it down. And for those caring for aging or dying parents, it will give you hope and remind you that you are not alone¯someone else has traveled this path…and she survived. So can you.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of The River, Divine Intervention and Whale Song
Reviewed by Rosemarie Skaine 7/9/2006
Timely book that should help many caregivers. R

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