A MOTHER SPEAKS, A DAUGHTER LISTENS Journeying Together Through Dementia
While each life story is unique, dementia's ripple effect on relationships touches us in common ways. In this collection, we're invited to share one mother-daughter dementia journey from the early days of a woman's life through years in a nursing home and also the emotional transformations that continue after a loved one’s death. These poems, some created from the mother’s words and all from the daughter’s heart, invite us to see Mitchell's mother Audrey as a complete, albeit changed, woman at the close of her life—and also how the depth and complexity of Mitchell's love for her is enriched by understanding what remains, and remains transformative, even as a brain changes.
This fine book by Felicia Mitchell is, strangely, a collaboration with her mother, Audrey McClary Mitchell. Audrey rests in Beaufort Cemetery, along with the poet’s father and brother, but her voice is recorded, considered, mingled with her daughter’s own as surely as if she were sitting beside her in the present moment of each poem. It’s a book in large part about the art of listening, about the complex way memory is born and gathered and protected, a book about honoring people like Audrey whose language has become “alzheimerspeak”—a language that the impatient find unintelligible, but this poet hears as if it were lyric. —Joyce Dyer, author of In a Tangled Wood: An Alzheimer's Journey
Through the poems in A Mother Speaks, a Daughter Listens, Felicia Mitchell evokes the tender and complicated emotions of accompanying a parent through dementia. Her words are compassionate, but not pitying; sad, but not despairing; familiar, but not flippant. In reflecting on her mother’s dementia and death, Mitchell shares with an honesty and insight that will resonate with others who share that experience, and that can guide us all toward greater understanding and care. —Rev. Joanna Harader, author of Expecting Emmanuel
Felicia Mitchell’s bright-shining collection A Mother Speaks, A Daughter Listens invites us into these aching spaces and the fey-like language between mother and daughter, the two of them being “two pieces of the same puzzle.” Mitchell honors not only her mother but the last, trying journey many of us must undertake. In these pages, we are not lost but blessedly found: in story, in clasped hands, in giving voice. It is certain we carry nothing out of this world, wrapped/rapt only in the beckoning light of remembrance. —Linda Parsons, author of Candescent:Poems
I like the scope of Felicia Mitchell’s book and admire her talent. It’s difficult putting words together that make sense of dementia. It’s a problem with language. A Mother Speaks, A Daughter Listens uses poetry to sketch out the space between mother and daughter. It is a lullaby sung from mother to child and back again the other way around. —Richard Spiegel, The Waterways Project of Ten Penny Players, Inc.