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Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Seasons of my Mother


Actress Marcia Gay Harden wanted her creative mother's legacy to be about her travels and ikebana (Japanese flower arranging), not the Alzheimer's that has taken over her life. So she wrote a lovely memoir for and about her mother, with some of her own childhood experiences and start in Hollywood mixed in. 

The details that Gay Harden remembers from growing up are impressive: the precise outfits her mother wore; conversations they had, down to exact dialogue; and every single flower used in all those arrangements 

A curiosity about The Seasons of my Mother is why there were no pictures. I wished I could see examples of Beverly's ikebana. I imagine though she chose to rely on memory and let her descriptions bring the arrangements to life. It certainly worked for the climb to a New York City apartment rooftop she and her mother took. I could visualize the beautiful star filled night sky arrangement her mom created through her well written description 
I enjoyed learning about her family's sweet tradition of creating Mad Day bouquets and delivering "anonymously" to neighbours. 

Beverly loves sunshine, smiles, and joy - essentially the good things in life, Gay Harden says. When she then mentions that their homes always had many night lights, I found that to be interesting, it's her mother's way of getting some light in the darkness. This book is surely the brightness against the darkness that is Alzheimer's.

Her army wife description helped me see it from their, (her mother's) point of view, and understand all the change, flexibility and adapting they must do. 

The way she explained her feelings, I could understand the let down she felt over bringing her mom instead of a boyfriend who just dumped her to New Zealand. 
Totally relatable is how bad moods of, as in her example, her dad, affect the household. Also, her realization that in frustrating, tense situations, her mom didn't remain quiet because she was timid, but she was practicing self control. That's big right there. 

The life lesson she learned from her mother, to stand still and appreciate beauty, is something we all could stand to remember and practice. 

Gay Harden has an enviable, close relationship with her mother, and it was nice to read about some of their cherished moments together. 

I received The Seasons of my Mother in a GoodReads giveaway. 

Until next time,

Kara

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