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Welcome to the Departure Lounge: Adventures in Mothering Mother
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Welcome to the Departure Lounge: Adventures in Mothering Mother

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  290 ratings  ·  77 reviews
The adventure begins when Meg’s mother, Addie, vacationing in Florida, takes a spill. At the hospital, Addie bolts upright on her gurney and yells “I demand an autopsy!” before passing out cold.

“One minute, she is unconscious, the next, she’s nuts,” observes Meg Federico in this hilarious and poignant memoir of taking care of eighty-year-old Addie and her relatively new (a
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published February 10th 2009 by Random House (first published January 1st 2009)
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Beth K.
Well, despite some laugh out loud moments, this book was a hard one. I can't imagine going through the caregiving journey that the author had to take with her mother, but I also can't imagine any other options for their unique situation. (I won't go into the whole thing; that's what the book's for.) The author did very well by her mother, I think, and gave her as much dignity as she could during the latter's decline. The book was difficult also, because of what I perceived as the author's uninte ...more
I wanted to read this because as an Outreach Librarian, visiting nursing homes and providing materials to the homebound, I thought this would provide more perspective on the loss of dignity that can come with loss of mobility. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time getting past the enormous wealth of Addie and Walter, the aging parents. Despite a small sop to the less-privileged in the book's acknowledgements, I don't think the author could comprehend the indignities that most people go through a ...more
I'm sure I wouldn't have given this book four stars if I was reading it at age 35! Who can imagine what's in store when your parents and in-laws live to their 80s and 90s, you're 65, and they still live at home. Meg Federico is spot on with her descriptions she calls "adventures in mothering mother." You might think the author took a little liberty and embelished her stories of what it was like to deal with her mother and step father aging in place, but when you can compare her experiences with ...more
I give the book a high rating because the story is told so well, backed up by solid narration - I felt as though I were (vicariously) living the events as they unfolded. At the risk of re-hashing the plot (something I frown upon generally), Federico's mother and step-father have managed to "fake" their way along as their mental health deteriorated; her mother was losing her sight as well. On vacation in Florida, however, Addie suffers a traumatic episode, triggering a "crisis" situation, until h ...more
Mar 15, 2009 Catherine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Caregivers of Aging Parents
Federico recounts her travails caring for her elderly mother. But it's not just about the relationship with her mother. There's also her mother's husband, Walter, who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

The writing is honest and accessible. There were points when, like an accident by the side of the road, I wanted to avert my eyes but just couldn't tear myself away. Federico perfectly describes her adventures in the couple's altered reality with humor but also, at times, sheer exasperation.

I would rec
Such a beautiful (and true) story of the author and her time spent with her ailing mother and stepfather. The book has a wonderful humor to its writing, and the author is refreshingly honest. I really could appreciate what she went through because Federico was so honest about what it was like taking care of a sick parent and how that stress affected all parts of her life. And it made me cry. (But what else is new?)
I had such hopes for this one. Her mother sitting up on the gurney in the hospital and yelling "I DEMAND AN AUTOPSY!" is still vivid for me. But unfortunately it was the highlight of the book. Instead of being humorous or touching it was mostly annoying. Her mother and stepfather are horrible people and the author wasn't able to make us care for them in the least.
A book about Dementia, Altzheimers, 2nd families, mothering your mother and stepfather. Good book that would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Found myself laughing about certain situations described in the book(no spoilers!) But feeling extremely guilty. Therefore the Grace of God I Go.
Kelly Stubbart
poignant and funny at times. I had to remember that this was the author's story and not a universal discussion of senior dementia. my grandmother is struggling with senior dementia and the recent death of her husband if 70 years. as a family, we have also experienced theft from assisted living staff and "friends". some of the topics related were more horrifying than humorous. i enjoyed the book at times and I do think there is a message that our aging society members need better help than they a ...more
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, it reminded me so much of Grandma's last year or so. Well written and honest. Her mother asked her to smother her with a pillow if she had dementia, and at times she wished she could.
Scary, scary book. It really pounds home the aspect that if your parents' doctor cavalierly says, "They're competent enough," even if you know better you cannot MAKE your parents stay in an assisted living facility.
Wonderfully touching and yet humorous look at taking care of aging parents. Meg discusses the frustrations of managing a mother's care from a distance and the effect it has on the whole family.
This is a "laugh so you don't cry" memoir by a woman who's juggling the care of her ailing mother and stepfather along with her own family life. Very funny, poignant and highly recommended.
I have an elderly mother so this book touched home for me. It was written with such love and humor. I recommend it to anyone who has an elderly parent.
Judy Lindow
Simply put, caring for someone you love towards the end of life, can be traumatizing. It is hard to be fearless enough. This book let me laugh about the experience and it gave me the reality check that I'm not alone it this awkward, rarely talked about phase of life.

One thing I've noticed, now that I spend time with elders, is that although everyone ages differently, there is a lot of common ground. This book is an island respite in a sea of textbooks on elder care. By way of the story you unde
Kind of funny account of a depressing subject (if you find death and dementia depressing). Sometimes you just have to laugh about the shitty stuff.
A poignant, humorous, yet a bit disturbing book about the trials of coping with elderly parents...worth reading.
Equally hilarious and heartbreaking, frustrating and funny. Enjoyed it very much.
A must read for those dealing with aging parents. Humorous, and practical.
A painful read, but worthwhile.
This is a very funny, warm and compassionate book filled with insight and observation that "cuts right through." I found it delightful, because I like to know "what really happens" - and what really happens almost always goes down better with a sense of humor. That said, while I personally found this book illuminating and sustaining, I can imagine it would be a difficult read for someone currently involved in care-giving for elderly loved ones; very much depends on the personality of the reader ...more
I was pretty disappointed by this book. Despite a few funny incidents and a few touching scenes at the end, this was poorly executed. Federico fails to make you care about her and/or her ailing mother and step-father. There was no warmth in her writing. And I understand that the mother/daughter relationship was strained, but I just didn't care.

The book begins by setting the stage for the decline of the mother and step-father and then it's just a series of anecdotes until the unavoidable conclus
The adventure begins when Meg’s mother, Addie, vacationing in Florida, takes a spill. At the hospital, Addie bolts upright on her gurney and yells “I demand an autopsy!” before passing out cold.“One minute, she is unconscious, the next, she’s nuts,” observes Meg Federico in this hilarious and poignant memoir of taking care of eighty-year-old Addie and her relatively new (and equally old) husband, Walter, in their not-so-golden years. Can be very poignant and touching.
This was a frank, yet funny, bittersweet memoir about coping with an aging parent, dementia, and the end of life. The author shares the story of her blended family from one point of view, acknowledging that it might differ from other family member's viewpoints. Events are told with humor and affection plus a certain amount of resignation. The book was loaned to me by a friend who lost her mother to Alzheimer's Disease. I would recommend it to anyone dealing with aging parents.
Carmen Martino
Good book overall. I felt this book was a good departure point for discussion rather than representative of what most people go through with publicly funded services. Although the author lived in Canada, the parents lived in the US, with a very different health care system. The book brought up a lot of issues re: caring for aging parents and, by implication, the state of home care services for those who don't have money to pay for extra services that the 2 main characters were fortunate to recei ...more
I enjoyed this book but at the same time the author's relationship with her mother and her upbringing was so radically different from mine that it made it a tad hard to relate at times. Still, since my mother is deceased and went through a horrible illness at the end of her life, there were definitely scenes that I could put myself right in to.

It made me grateful that my parents didn't suffer from dementia and empathetic to those who have parents who are facing that. There were some funny momen
Another one that makes me feel less alone while coping with aging parents. This one makes me thankful for my situation because hers is so much worse.
This book had a lot of potential to be a light-hearted look at a very serious subject. While parts of the book were laugh-out-loud, much of it left questions. For example, where was the author's husband? How did she maintain her own marriage while taking care of her mother? How did the author afford her frequent trips, especially since she said that her job status changed? And how did she pay for all the help (read in home staff!) that her mother had? The reality is that many families are depend ...more
The author has written a fascinating memoir about her experiences of caring for her Mother and Step-Father as they slip into the darkness that is alzheimers. It is at turns funny and sad but truthful. She has to deal with a step-sister, caretakers that steal, and a husband who wishes she didn't have to go so often and leave the chores to him. I love this quote from the book-her brother calls to see how things were going at the departure lounge(a name they made up to describe the home)and she say ...more
Elizabeth Padro
Loved it, made me laugh out load!
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Meg Federico regularly writes humor for the National Post. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Shambhala Sun, and Agni Magazine (Boston University Press). She is the author of Welcome to the Departure Lounge. She has written commentary and created documentaries for CBC Radio. For several years, she wrote a successful column, “Transitions: Issues in Caregiving,” for the Halifax Daily News. ...more
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“You can't reconcile the people you love with the things they do, especially to you. You are stuck with loving them … Perhaps, though people do awful things to one another, there's no one to pin the blame on in the end.” 1 likes
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