By Elizabeth Berg—Random House 2020
Elizabeth Berg writes with great feeling, offering keen observations of the human condition. In this moving and insightful memoir, she describes the decline of her parents’ happy, 60-year marriage with a bittersweet candor. She chronicles their final years, citing honest exchanges between parents often in denial—and adult children afraid of losing them—that reveal sometimes cringe-worthy behavior from all parties. It’s so real. Berg’s parents, both in their late 80s, are coming to terms with a move to a residential care facility. Her father, a career military man, has developed Alzheimer’s—he’s stubborn and confused. Her mother, emotionally exhausted, agrees to the move but takes her uncharacteristic anger out on her husband and daughters. It’s a time fraught with sadness, acceptance of roles reversed and the understanding that there’s no going home again, in any sense of the word. In time, Berg’s parents find their rhythm again and, because of the abiding love in the family, make the best of the time they have left. Any family caregivers could relate to the challenges Berg faced, the frustration and guilt, and feel they are in good company.