“What I’ve learned is that no matter what comes you’ve got to wrap yourself in all the goodness you can muster.” – Jann Arden

I was starting to feel like I was in a bit of a reading funk, but maybe I was just in a reading selection slump.

I’d thought it might be possible that my passion for reading would wane as the weather got warmer and we spent more time outside. I finished up an okay book that took quite a while on Sunday night and then started one I was kind of enjoying (though it was still early) yesterday morning. Last night as I was heading to bed, I picked up a different book (contrary to my 19 for 2019 resolution, I know) I’d bought on a whim on the weekend, Feeding My Mother by Jann Arden and it is the most beautiful thing I’ve read in a very long time. I stayed up late with it last night, I got up early with it today and I was actually thankful for long commutes and waiting room times this morning because I could read more of it then.

As you may have read, heard or watched in interviews, Arden has spent the last several years caring for her ailing parents. In this book, she details the experience of watching them suffer through dementia and Alzheimers diagnoses and supporting them through the end of their lives. The stories inspire a span of emotions and Arden truly presents as an inspiration. As much as she can recognize when she lets her frustrations get the best of her, she also frames the situation realistically – the heartache as well as the bright spots, the triumphs and the defeats.

As the dog and I walked home with the wind at our backs and the sun streaking through the trees, I thought to myself how good people are. How kind and helpful and hard-working and empathetic. Even though my faith in the human race is challenged at every turn, I still believe that goodness is abundant and that bad people will not be able to turn us into the bitter, hateful souls they seem to want us to be. They want us to be like them, full of dark and dread and doom, to become wicked beings set on causing pain for the sake of pain. I will find the good people and I will surround myself with them. I’ll keep trying to be decent and thoughtful and helpful and creative. I’ll leave good things behind me when I pass. I promise this to myself.

She shares all sides of her experience and it’s made me think a lot about my relationships – not just with my parents, but with everyone. How do I give to others? How do I offer my support? What do I do to show others that I care about them? How do I love?

This is a really thoughtful and heartwarming/breaking book. I’d thoroughly recommend it to everyone (just maybe not while riding public transit. Or bring some tissues at least.)

Also, it includes recipes. As you may have guessed.

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