This morning I want to give a shout out to my friend Lisa Ohlen Harris who just landed a book deal for her memoir, The Fifth Season: A Daughter-in-Law’s Memoir of Caregiving. The book chronicles her years of sharing a home and being the primary caregiver for her elderly mother-in-law through the time of her death.
Look for it in 2013 from Texas Tech University Press, In the meantime, you can read online a couple essays from the book that have already been published.
From "Comfort Food" published at Brevity:
"I woo Jeanne’s appetite with her favorite Southern foods. Grits, banana pudding, Miracle Whip, and bologna loaf on white bread. French dressing over cottage cheese. Sausage gravy over biscuits: pallid sauce so thick with grease that the leftovers will congeal, gray and lumpy. Tomorrow I will reheat them to mash over her toast." [Keep reading...]
From "Autumn Sage" published at Ascent:
"The first time it happened was in October. And then again—twice—in November. What better season for falling? The leaves lose their grasp and come floating down, brittle as an old woman’s hipbone." [Keep reading...]
Here’s a link to Lisa’s blog where she posted an announcement about the book deal and where she’ll be giving updates about the book. This is Lisa’s second book. Through the Veil came out in 2010 and is about her time living in Syria and Jordan.
Given the growing complexity of eldercare as a key issue in the real lives of real people, Harris's memoir is going to be an important book. It joins the ranks of other narratives that have recently emerged (see the article "Daddy Issues" in the March 2012 issue of The Atlantic) that give witness to and deepen the conversation about how we care for our aging loved ones and still care for our own families and ourselves.