Title: The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me

Author: Cathie Borrie

Publisher: New York: Arcade Publishing, 2016

Call number: 362.196831 BOR - [HEA]

Link to availability: http://catalogue.nlb.gov.sg/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/ENQ/EXPNOS/BIBENQ?BRN=202550933

How would it feel like to be told about your own childhood memories by someone you have known all your life, but who thinks she is only meeting you for the first time? In this heartrending yet beautiful memoir, award-winning creative writer and nurse Cathie Borrie shares her 7-year experience of looking after her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother, and how it takes great patience, mental strength and love to look after an elderly family member, even more so if they are gradually losing the ability to remember and make sense of their surroundings. 

The book mostly comprises conversations between the two women, which alternate with scenes from Ms. Borrie’s childhood. It also reveals the multiple challenges and struggles she faces – as a caregiver who needs to constantly attend to her mother’s basic needs; as a daughter who tries to understand her mother’s complicated state of mind and love her while holding back the pain of losing her; and above all as an ordinary woman who seeks to live her own life and prove her talent in dancing. 

Written in simple but evocative prose, The Long Hello is a powerful story that illustrates how the loving connection between a parent and child can remain strong despite the overwhelming circumstances.