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Breathing Wind

Nov 2, 2021

How might you care for someone at the end of their life when your relationship isn’t perfect? In this episode, Laura Davis and Sarah Davis talk about caregiving when still healing from past traumas, power dynamic flip from child to caregiver and caring for people with dementia. Laura Davis is a six-time bestselling author who leads transformative writing workshops internationally. Her latest book, a memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars, is about the dramatic twists and turns of mother-daughter love.

This episode is part of a Breathing Wind miniseries titled Caregiving Journey, hosted by Breathing Wind founder and host, Sarah Davis. The Caregiving Journey miniseries explores:

  • How stories of other caregivers can help us feel less alone
  • Ambiguous grief and caregiving at end of life
  • The shifting roles of the caregiver
  • How and why to seek self-care
  • Joy in the caregiving journey

In this ~41-minute episode, Sarah and Laura talk about:

  • [3:08] Relationships are complicated, which makes grief complicated
  • [3:42] Laura’s relationship with her mom
  • [9:10] Reconciliation
  • [10:03] What was going on in Laura’s life when her mom decided to move to her city and how she processed that
  • [12:43] Excerpt from Chapter Two, “The Call”
  • [19:41] Laura’s reflections on the call
  • [25:11] Caring for someone with dementia
  • [25:30] “One of the things that was so confusing to me about dementia in particular is that it's like tuning into a radio station. And sometimes the signal is clear. And sometimes it isn't.”
  • [26:51] Entering the world of someone with dementia
  • [29:54] What Laura means by explaining she had to wear a “good daughter mask”
  • [30:13] “There always was a buffer, and if it wasn't geographic, then it was just that I wasn't going to really share; I never really felt I could share my intimate life with her -- ever. I didn't feel like it was safe to do that. And yet we managed to have a healed relationship. You know, it had some cracks in it.”
  • [30:25] “As she changed, the dynamic between us changed.”
  • [31:53] How Laura moved her mother to an assisted living facility and her feelings after
  • [35:13] “The fight went out of her. And she acquiesced to being there. And she started to feel like she belonged. And it was actually really sad. I mean, on one hand, she became much easier to manage. For me, because she wasn't the fiery, intense emotional woman she'd always been, she became quite passive and sweet, actually. But I felt like this person isn't really my mother, it was like I was dealing with a different person.” 
  • [36:10] “Anyone who cares for someone with Alzheimer's or [another] dementia is pretty much in a constant state of grief. You're grieving for the person while they're still here. And it's a really sad process.” 
  • [38:04] How caregiving has transformed who Laura is today
  • [39:39] Information on Laura’s book release and pre sale campaign

To find out more about this episode and subscribe to the newsletter, visit the show notes.

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