Why I Can’t Write My Memoir — Not the Part About My Mom Anyway

Leg cast for a woman, 92, with broken hip. Photo by BF Newhall

My mother’s leg was stabilized with a temporary cast after she broke her hip. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall, May 4, 2010

Well, last week I missed my Friday night 11:59 p.m. deadline for posting on this blog. The reason: My 92-year-old mom is still in a skilled nursing facility recovering from a broken hip.My brothers and I are stressing ourselves out trying to figure out what her next residence will be. Assisted living, great though it has been for the past couple of years, no longer suffices. She needs a memory support unit.

A salad of lettuce, tempeh sticks and grapefruit. Photo by BF Newhall

A salad of lettuce, tempeh sticks and grapefruit by Peter and Emily. Photo by BF Newhall.

Driving home the other day from just one of  countless visits to my mother at the hospital, I had to ask myself, why aren’t I writing about her? Naturally, I prefer to think about happier things — the elegant dinner Peter and his girlfriend Emily put together when they visited here in January.

But why, really, do I resist the topic of my mom and me? I’ve got plenty of time for self-examination on those drives back and forth to the hospital.

I’ll see if I can persuade myself to give the subject some thought and get back to you.


Read about my mom when she was younger and tougher in “Respect for Our Undeserving Elders.”





  1. Emily Nystrom says:

    Sorry to hear this news, Barbara. You’re being a great daughter during this very stressful situation.

    You’re allowed to think of happy things sometimes for sure. Here is the recipe.

  2. Thanks, Cindy. It’s really hard to see my mother so weak and dependent — and scared. As you know, my mother-in-law had a lot of memory loss at the end of her life, and the sad thing is, when I think of Ruth, that’s how I remember her, as very childlike — when actually she was a strong-willed, smart, supportive person for most of the time I knew her. Barbara

  3. Hi Barb,

    I think it’s difficult to think of our parents as feeble and in need of our care. We always look to our parents, and our mothers in particular, as OUR caregivers. Also, I believe that it makes our own mortality seem more certain.

    Just remember that you are doing a wonderful service for your mother, and you will appreciate all the effort and time you are putting in to making her older years comfortable.

    Love, Cindy

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