A stirring memoir of a daughter caring for a mother with dementia that is sure to become a touchstone for many others.
The Long Hello explores the emotional rewards and challenges that Cathie Borrie experienced in caring for her mother, who was living with Alzheimer’s disease, for seven years. Between the two, a wondrously poetic dialogue develops, which Ms. Borrie further illuminates with childhood memories of her family, and her struggle to maintain a life outside her caregiving responsibilities. The Long Hello demonstrates how caregiving creates an opportunity to experience the change in a relationship that illness necessitates, one in which joy, meaning, and profound intimacy can flourish.
Written in spare, beautiful prose, largely in the form of a dialogue, The Long Hello exquisitely captures the intricacies and nuances of a daughter’s relationship with her mother.
About the author
Cathie Borrie trained as a nurse in Vancouver and holds a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She also graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in law, and she has a Certificate in Creative Writing from the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. She lives in Vancouver. Visit CathieBorrie.com.
"Groundbreaking...[The Long Hello] creates an ideological sea change in how you view Alzheimer's."
Francesca Rosenberg, Director, Community and Access Programs, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
“What Cathie Borrie did for her mother was wonderful…What she has done for readers is inspiring.The actions are matched by the luminous prose. This book is memoir at its best.”
“Mother-daughter Alice in Wonderland-like exchanges underline this remarkable child-as-parental-caregiver memoir…Constructed in prose fragments that capture the many facets of caring for a dying parent, the book also serves as a meditation on the elusiveness and selectivity of all memory.”
“Ordinary writers are able to describe the surface of things. Great writers take readers inside the human experience in ways that can, and often do, bring life-changing insights. Cathie Borrie is a great writer and her exploration of life with Alzheimer’s is deep, rich, nuanced,and soulful.”
Dr. Bill Thomas, author of Second Wind; founder of The Eden Alternative and The Greenhouse Project
“Toward the end of illness, the line between sublime and ridiculous is blurry and extraneous. In The Long Hello, that line is barely seen. Out of Borrie’s personal mayhem emerged compassion, the realest, most onerous thing there is.”
Globe and Mail
“Immensely lyrical and moving . . . a powerful display of Cathie Borrie’s talent as a writer.”
Steven Galloway, author of The Confabulist
"A sparse yet deeply affecting, poetic story of love and devotion, The Long Hello is a memoir about caring for a mother with Alzheimer's, a collection of conversations and memories revealing moments of clarity, absurdity, wisdom, and connection that pierce and heal the heart."
Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice