The Glass Seed: The Fragile Beauty of Heart, Mind and Memory

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9781932018189: The Glass Seed: The Fragile Beauty of Heart, Mind and Memory
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The author investigates cultural ideas about care, compassion and loss in the face of her mother's terminal illness. When she first realizes that her mother has Alzheimer's disease, she begins to consider what it means to be a mother, daughter and woman. She discovers that beyond the fragility of her mother's body and mind, something intangible and enduring remains untouched.

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About the Author:

Eileen Delehanty Pearkes writes regularly for ascent magazine. She received her BA from Stanford University and her MA from the University of British Columbia. Eileen lives in British Columbia and is the mother of two teenage sons.

Review:

Since each person is unique with a life, body and brain that is singular to him or herself, each person with dementia is going to experience a unique version of the disease. Yes, there are patterns to different types of dementia. We know that Alzheimer's disease has certain stages. However, people can seem to be in one stage one day, and bounce back to another stage the next. So too, each caregiver experiences his or her role in a different manner. Again, as with the person with the disease, the caregiver will have different feelings on different days. One would think that the market for Alzheimer's books would be saturated by now. I've read literally dozens of books by and for people with dementia and/or their caregivers. Yet, as with dementia itself, each book I've chosen to read - I've chosen not to read a few, as they seemed too generic - but each book I've chosen to read has contributed something unique to the literature as a whole, and dementia literature as a genre. A few weeks back, I reviewed The Alzheimer's Action Plan, a book that is geared toward science and toward giving practical information primarily to the person with Alzheimer's, though it also has information for the caregiver, as well. The book I'm writing about in this post is the polar opposite of the Action Plan. The Glass Seed: The Fragile Beauty of Heart, Mind & Memory, by Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, is a personal account of one woman's journey as she learns to cope with, and understand, her life within the context of history, family and her mother's dementia. Pearkes is an accomplished writer. She leans heavily on poetic references, ancient mythology, wisdom passed through the ages by aboriginal people (she lives in Canada and uses the term aboriginal when we in the U.S. would likely use Native American), the rhythms of nature as it compares to the female body, and a need to connect generations of women throughout time. There are times when her mother's Alzheimer's seems to be a small part of the author's journey and even the point of the book, yet as Pearkes' works her way through her mother's disease, the reader puts together the pieces, like the buttons and beads she uses as symbolism throughout. Pearkes writes about the dysfunction of the generations in her family and her struggle to come to terms with her feelings. What I take from the book, other than my personal delight in reading a literary work by a modern writer, is Pearkes' ability to illuminate a truth few people notice - that we who do not have dementia have much to learn from those who do. What was Pearkes' mother seeing when she stared off into space, seeming to the ordinary eye to be looking at nothing? Pearkes works at understanding that we cannot know what her mother is seeing, but we can learn from observing the person with Alzheimer's. It's possible they are seeing things beyond our "normal" sphere. This is a book that is a pleasure to read, by a daughter who tries hard to understand why her mother must suffer; a daughter who tries to learn what her mother is teaching her throughout the progression of the disease. It is not a book for someone who just wants the facts, nor is it for someone who is looking for a list of answers. The book is a piece of art that is an experience in and of itself. If the reader is willing to flow with the book, she will uncover life lessons in the process. --Carol Bradley Bursack

In the book, The Glass Seed: The Fragile Beauty of Heart, Mind & Memory by Eileen Delhanty Pearkes, readers are taken on a narrative journey of her own inner discoveries as she sees her mother passing through the stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Published in 2007 by Timeless Books, Pearkes mixes stories about her mother's past, her mother's current struggles with Alzheimer's disease but also with her own insights about the mother she thought she knew so well. Pearkes uses the seasons and beads as themes throughout the book as she describes her revelation that some truths she learned about her mother would never have been revealed unless she had Alzheimer's disease. The book was different than many other accounts of an adult child coming to terms with Alzheimer's disease since the author put together little vignettes about her self and her mother that almost felt like journal entries rather than a progressive story. The book may appeal to readers because it mentions the consequences of the illness but the story is as much about the daughter's search for herself as it is about the mother with Alzheimer's disease. If you enjoy literary prose and have a relative in the midst of Alzheimer's disease, this spiritual memoir will be for you. --Sue Lanza, NuturingNuggets.com

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Book Description Timeless Books,U.S., United States, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In her first full-length work of creative non-fiction, author Eileen Delehanty Pearkes investigates cultural ideas about care, compassion and loss in the face of her mother s terminal illness.When Pearkes first realizes that her mother has Alzheimer s disease, she begins to consider what it means to be a mother, daughter and woman. Fuelled by a desire to heal herself, and care for her mother, Pearkes embarks on an inward journey toward understanding. During a winter spent in quiet reflection, she gathers historical, religious and mythic perspectives on beauty and womanhood which then nourish a contemplation of her own mother-daughter relationship. She discovers that beyond the fragility of her mother s body and mind, something intangible and enduring remains untouched.Lyrical and intimate, Pearkes voice resonates with the seasons as she takes us on a journey through winter to spring, from disintegration to wholeness. The evocative language of The Glass Seed reveals the influence of yoga, and an intensely personal approach to the politics of womanhood, from this emerging writer in the literary tradition of women s spiritual memoir. Seller Inventory # NLF9781932018189

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Book Description Timeless Books,U.S., United States, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In her first full-length work of creative non-fiction, author Eileen Delehanty Pearkes investigates cultural ideas about care, compassion and loss in the face of her mother s terminal illness.When Pearkes first realizes that her mother has Alzheimer s disease, she begins to consider what it means to be a mother, daughter and woman. Fuelled by a desire to heal herself, and care for her mother, Pearkes embarks on an inward journey toward understanding. During a winter spent in quiet reflection, she gathers historical, religious and mythic perspectives on beauty and womanhood which then nourish a contemplation of her own mother-daughter relationship. She discovers that beyond the fragility of her mother s body and mind, something intangible and enduring remains untouched.Lyrical and intimate, Pearkes voice resonates with the seasons as she takes us on a journey through winter to spring, from disintegration to wholeness. The evocative language of The Glass Seed reveals the influence of yoga, and an intensely personal approach to the politics of womanhood, from this emerging writer in the literary tradition of women s spiritual memoir. Seller Inventory # NLF9781932018189

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