Don't Leave Yet: How My Mother's Alzheimer's Opened My Heart by Constance HanstedtDon't Leave Yet: How My Mother's Alzheimer's Opened My Heart by Constance Hanstedt

Don't Leave Yet: How My Mother's Alzheimer's Opened My Heart

byConstance Hanstedt

Paperback | April 21, 2015

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As a young girl in the Midwest, Constance Hanstedt was consumed by fear-of her parents, especially her disapproving mother, Virginia; of social situations; and of people in general. Unable to connect with those around her, she embraced perfectionism as a substitute for love. Raising her own family eased some of Hanstedt's self-doubt. But even as an adult she remained guarded around her mother, avoiding conflict at all costs. Still, when Virginia developed Alzheimer's, Hanstedt did what the perfect daughter she'd always struggled to be would do: she returned to the Midwestern town where she was raised to help care for a mother who could no longer care for herself. InDon't Leave Yet, Hanstedt recounts her journey toward facing her fears and rising above the past; her mother's unrelenting bitterness regarding life, even as she loses memories of it; and her unexpected discovery of an emotion that reaches beyond familial duty: compassion.
Constance Hanstedt is an author, poet, and business owner living in Northern California. Her poetry has received numerous awards and has appeared in Calyx, Rattle, Naugatuck River Review, The Comstock Review, and many other literary journals. Her poem "Ode to Beige" was published in Diane Lockward's The Crafty Poet (2013), a collection...
Title:Don't Leave Yet: How My Mother's Alzheimer's Opened My HeartFormat:PaperbackDimensions:8.5 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:April 21, 2015Publisher:She Writes PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1631529528

ISBN - 13:9781631529528

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Editorial Reviews

"In this touching memoir, poet and writer Hanstedt tries to reconcile her suddenly vulnerable mother, who is slipping into Alzheimer's, with the strong-willed matriarch of her childhood. When it becomes evident that her mother, once so decisive and sure, is suffering from depression and memory loss, Hanstedt and her older sister decide to move her (under protest) to an assisted-living facility. The battles begin as their mother begs to go home and complains constantly. As Hanstedt and her sister inventory their childhood home for auction and sale, items remind the author of growing up in a family that was often torn by her parents' fights, her father's drinking, and her mother's demands. Although the children weren't neglected, there seem to be few moments of love and tenderness. Interweaving these memories with the logistics of dealing with a lifetime of possessions and heartbreaking health-care decisions, Hanstedt works to understand her mother, forgive her actions, and accept her. Anyone dealing with an aging parent will empathize with Hanstedt's struggles and find comfort in her honesty." —Booklist"Don't Leave Yet is a moving memoir of a woman maturing into her own independence, confidence, and connectedness as she cares for her mother who is losing her identity through Alzheimer's. As her mother declines, Constance Hanstedt remembers back through her childhood, rendering these scenes with precise and often heartbreaking details. This is a story that is being lived out in all its variations in so many families today, and Don't Leave Yet tells it with a clear and honest eye in a memoir that is graceful, vivid, and deeply human." —Ellen Bass, author of Like a Beggar