I’ve had many conversations with my boss at Caruso’s about getting old. We both fear the same things; losing our sight to the point the we can’t read and losing parts of our mind, parts of our memories. It may sound silly for a twenty-five-year-old to fear things like that, but I can’t help it. Imagine forgetting the people you love most, confusing the past with the present, not being able to remember important parts of your life. Imagine the toll that would take on your loved ones.
The Long Hello is an engrossing memoir about a woman caring for her mother suffering from Alzheimer’s. Cathie Borrie is a ballroom dancer, who dabbled in heath, law and business careers. She also happens to be a wonderful writer who took a powerful personal story and turned it into a breathtaking lyrical memoir for the world to fall in love with. In The Long Hello Cathie moves between memories from her childhood to episodes during the seven years she cared for her mother.
During those years Cathie recorded the conversations she had with her mother Jo. The dialogue takes up a large chunk of the book itself, and provides the reader with a reliable account of the mind of someone with Alzheimer’s. It is raw, seemingly unfiltered, and paints a picture of the relationship Jo had with Cathie and her son Hugh. What I loved most about this memoir is its honesty. Cathie doesn’t see the beauty in what she does for her mother, nor does she seem to realize what a great person she is. Her mistakes, her sorrows, her own confusion do not distract her from the love she has for her mother, and that is an admirable feat.
With sadness, joy, and honesty, The Long Hello brings its readers into the role of caregiver. A role they must take seriously, allowing it teach and nurture them until it’s time to let go.
Disclosure: I was sent an ARC of The Long Hello from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.