My Mother, My Son by Dwayne J. Clark had so much of what I thought was missing in The End of Your Life Book Club. There were no distractions of multiple listings of novels, no chances of novel spoilers being released, and there was an obvious close personal connection between mother and son.
My Mother, My Son is the true story of a mother’s diagnosis and advancement into Alzheimer’s, with the direct correlation to how her children’s lives were affected. Her son, Dwayne J. Clark (also the author), owns the successful Aegis Living communities for the elderly, and while it was never expected, eventually, Mom would end up calling Aegis her home.
There were three interwoven story lines, which I originally was worried would be confusing. But it was not. The story lines followed Mom from a child as she grew up, Mom older and with Dwayne as a child and growing up, and then Dwayne dealing with Mom as she progressed through her illness.
The memoir showcased Mom being her feisty self, along with her somewhat obsessive fears about being left behind by her children. She was terrified of being alone and was very dependent on her family for support. It seemed a little unhealthy at times, but you could tell the family was very close.
One moving story was about how Dwayne worked for months, saving up to buy his mother two expensive suits from the trendy store in town. The women in the store laughed at him at first, until he pulled out the money he worked hard to earn by cleaning up at a local restaurant. When Mom received the suits, she was pleased beyond belief, and wore them for years. This scene brought tears to my eyes, it was so moving.
While Mom was progressing further and further into Alzheimer’s, Clark made a significant effort to showcase his mother honestly, even when it hurt. And throughout the novel, we are able to see Mom as the person she was before her illness, through those interwoven timelines.
Clark ends the book with tips for those who experience Alzheimer’s in loved ones, both on dealing with the person themselves and taking the time to deal with your own feelings and needs.
I love how all of the profits from My Mother, My Son are going to be donated to Clark’s foundation, the Potato Soup Foundation (named after a story told in the novel) as well as the Alzheimer’s Association.
Fun fact: The author and I (as well as a few other of his relatives) have the same birthday (month and day).
If you enjoyed The End of Your Life Book Club, this memoir is one that will touch your heart. I enjoyed the close relationships among family members more than in The End of Your Life, so you might as well!
Would you like to read this book? Let me know if you are interested in the comments section, along with your email or twitter handle (if I don’t already know it), and I’ll randomly draw a name on Sunday, Dec 23, and get it in the mail as soon as possible!
If you don’t want a copy of the book, but still want to comment, go ahead!