My friend Marilyn gave me Jann Arden’s book Feeding My Mother. On the one hand it was easy to read because there isn’t a great deal of text and the layout of the book is so colourful and eye-catching and contains so many excellent photos Jann has taken of her mother and the scenery around their Alberta home.
The text is interspersed with recipes. Jann has a house just a few steps away from her childhood home where her Mom still lives. Before her father died Jann routinely had her parents over for dinner and she still does that with her Mom. Jann shares the simple recipes she uses when cooking for her Mom, hence the title of the book Feeding My Mother. The chatty tone, the hearty recipes and visual impact of the book make it easy to read.
On the other hand the book was also very hard to read because it records Jann’s efforts to care for her mother who is suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s. Jann is fortunate because she has the financial means to provide in-home caregivers for her mother. But Jann’s pain in losing the mother she once knew and her struggles to maintain a patient attitude with her mother and a positive attitude about her mother’ situation, will resonate with anyone who has dealt with a seriously ill parent.
The most poignant line in the book for me was when Jann realized her mother was rapidly losing her memory and asked her, “Do you think you will ever forget me Mom?” Her mother replied, “Well my brain might, but my heart won’t.”
Feeding My Mother helped me learn some new things about Jann Arden one of Canada’s most beloved musical artists and it helped me learn some new things about how Alzheimer’s impacts families and relationships.