The manuscript I have been working on is approximately two-thirds complete. It is a memoir describing a daughter's caregiving during the final three months of each of my parents' previously healthy, independent lives in Florida. It is also a chronicle of the hilarious eccentricities of the elderly. By interspersing my memory bank of laughable moments with scenes from the hospital, rehab unit, and nursing homes, I am trying to recreate a scene that is too familiar to many.
My parents were in no way extraordinary. They did not abuse; they were not alcoholics or schizophrenics; they did not suffer from bi-polar disease or obesssive compulsion. They were loving, involved parents and devoted partners. However, my relationship with them shifted when they became dependent on me as their caregiver. Mine is the story of millions of sons and daughters who must balance their own very full lives with the daily concerns for their parents' survival and their own self-preservation. By creating a memory bank, I was able to deal with my parents' struggles and my own.
Here's the problem: this manuscript is not marketable. There are thousands of published works out there about caregiving of the elderly, as well as Alzheimer's Disease. A memoir, if it is to attract a publisher, must tell a very unique story. Should I go in another direction with this, or continue as planned?
If I decided to write this purely as a family history, I would finish the manuscript as originally planned and let the kids and grandkidc have a copy someday. But I am constantly asked for advice from friends who are undergoing the same stresses and concerns with their parents. I have concluded that balancing elderly care and a life of one's own is truly a common experience among the 50-and-60generation, simply because our parents are living longer.
So here's what I have decided to do. I am going to finish the original manuscript, although it is slow going, and then redirect it. The new working title will be something like, A HANDBOOK TO OUTLAST YOUR ELDERLY PARENTS. The HANDBOOK will provide tongue-in-cheek lessons based on the bizarre, laughable, memorable antics of my ninety-year-old parents. It will also provide tongue-in-cheek lessons based on my navigation through hospital surgeries, rehab facilities, nursing homes, health care agencies, parental alienation, and family rivalries. A HANDBOOK will provide levity while dealing with a demanding, stressful world that is neither black nor white, a world of laughter and tears. Suggestions???
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.