Actress Marcia Gay Harden Says in Memoir, "Alzheimer's Took Away My Mother."
American Actress Marcia Gay Harden’s book The Seasons of My Mother: A Memoir of Love, Family and Flowers explores her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Released on May 1st, this book looks at the relationship between Harden and her 83-year-old mother, Beverly.
Originally, this book was meant to be a collaboration between her and her mother that focuses on the relationship between spirituality and the beauty of flowers. Her mother practiced Ikebana, which is the Japanese art of flower arranging. This art was one of her mother's many talents, but Alzheimer's made her put it on hold.
Harden said, “I started writing it because I didn’t want her legacy to be Alzheimer’s [...]I wanted it to be the beautiful life that she’d lived and Ikebana. I probably wrote it in a way to keep that person that I was watching slip away alive inside of me as well.”
Like many caregivers, Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden was hard on herself and felt that her life was completely changed because of her mother's Alzheimer's diagnosis. When she wrote the book, in no way did she mean the book to be about Alzheimer’s. However, now, the book evolved into a diary of a daughter and a remarkable lady living with grace and dignity. Harden hopes that this book can bring more awareness to Alzheimer's disease.
The book itself is not meant to be a self-help book. This book is meant as a memoir that highlights their lives and struggle with Alzheimer's. Readers can also experience Harden's life behind the big screen and PR campaigns, as she goes deep in her personal life and describes the challenges that her family has to face and overcome.
Throughout the memoir, Harden retraces her life as a child and allows her readers to follow her life in Japan, Germany, California and Maryland.
2001 to 2011: From Academy Award Winner to Alzheimer's Caregiver
Back in 2001, Marcia Gay Harden received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal as Lee Krasner in Ed Harris’ biopic Pollock. Both her parents watched her accept the award, but her father passed away the year after, making her mother a widow after 46 years of marriage.
In 2003, Harden’s niece, nephew and their mother died in a fire in their home in Queens, New York. And, in the same year, Beverly told Harden that she couldn't remember little details about her life and how to do certain things. Her skills in Japanese flower arranging were also forgotten.
At the end of 2011 things only got worse. Harden’s marriage was falling apart, and Beverly was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
"I was falling apart at the seams,” Harden remarked. “I am so honored to look back and say that I was able to keep it together, because all these unlikely people – professionals, people I work with, friends, therapists – came together to say, ‘We’ve got you.’ I went to a clinic, a kind of healing place, and I would be there during the daytime and take classes on cognitive behavioral therapy and meditating. Taking classes on how to be in my own skin with all these things going on around it, because I had a goal. And the goal, the light that was pulling me through was my children."
Photo source: AFTER WORDS Marcia Gay Harden by Streaming Play