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My Mother, My Father: On Losing a Parent

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Some of Australia's best known writers share their wise and searingly honest experiences of losing a parent.

The loss of a parent is an experience that we all face without any training - relating to a parent through old age and illness; going through the actual death in different circumstances and whether we can help parents to have a good death; the emotional aftermath - s
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Allen & Unwin
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Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In one of the opening essays in this book, Thomas Keneally writes: 'You can't untangle the ganglia of love, tears, reproach, joy, failed expiation, grief and dense history that connect even the aged living to their lost parents. But you can't stop trying either', and each of the pieces in this outstanding collection go as far as anything I've ever read toward making sense of the death of a parent (or, indeed, the death of any loved one).

Helen Garner's essay, as one might expect, is a beautiful,
So this book made me angry and sad and mostly I didn't like reading it. This is, however, no fault at all of the writers. I think my take-home from reading this is that grief is an intensely personal thing, and any attempt to use common experience to process it is doomed to failure.
I bought this book when it came out, about six months after my father's sudden death. I was struggling to process the unexpected enormity of my grief, and I thought this seemed perfect to connect. As my partner got il
Colin Bisset
Oct 14, 2013 rated it liked it
I wanted to read this as soon as I heard about it, having lost my father a few months ago and my mother before that. I suppose I was looking for some common threads to my own sense of memory and grief. They weren't there as much as I'd hoped but I enjoyed many of the essays, especially those by Helen Garner, David Marr, Nikki Barrowclough and Susan Wyndham, all of which struck a chord with me. And I suppose this is the nature of a book like this, that there will be something for most readers who ...more
It's a mixed bag of offerings, some poetic, some excellent and moving, some long-winded and dissatisfying (for me, anyway). It's worth reading for the good ones - just skip the ones that don't appeal. I'd give it 2 and 1/2 stars if that were possible. ...more
Katische Haberfield
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great collection of memoir and reflection about what it is to lose either one or both parents. An interesting set of essays as some writers have a close relationship with their parent(s) and some a formal and distant or non-existent relationship. Some are reflections on their parents before they die, but at the last stages of their life.

A great tool for anyone navigating this part of life. A great introduction to the genre.

Some favourite parts:

"Since in our old age our greatest strengths becom
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nf-lifestyle
I absolutely devoured this book. Such easy reading but yet such depth of content. A beautiful collection of stories that reminded me that we never really know anybody and that sometimes we cannot begin to fathom what somebody may have been through in their life. From reading this book I have definitely selected a few authors I would like to explore more works by.

This is an excellent book if you want a thoughtful short read, but it is also a great book to have on the shelf if you are exploring y
Jenny Esots
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stories of resounding grief.
I have head stories like this, lived stories like this.
As I am currently working in a hospice the echos of powerlessness, helplessness and loss ring very true.
However it is impossible to do someone's grieving for them.
It is a very personal struggle.
But I do admire people who can articulate their own grief.
On of the writers states the loss of a parent is a momentous thing.
Indeed it is.
Dec 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Lovely and touching, these stories of people and their feelings on the loss of their parents were lovely. Some even caused me to tear up.
Having lost one of my parents, I could relate in some part to these people and their sentiments. Most of the authors though, watched their parents decline, I was not given that chance.
For those who may have lost a parent, it may be of some comfort to read this book.
Alison Barber
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Poignant series of essays on our never simple relationships with our parents, so often unresolved at their death. Struck by how many of these writers had fraught memories/relationships. Editor Susan Wyndham's piece one of the few that spoke of a close relationship. Some beautiful and thought-provoking writing from well known authors including Helen Garner, Thomas Keneally and David Marr.
Truly moving collection which I will dip back into.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Some of the Writers’ contributions were especially moving. I particularly enjoyed the signature styles of Marr’s and Keneally’s offerings. Striking to read the remembrances of people’s lives, warts and all. Not morbid, but reminds the reader to savour moments before the inevitable.
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
A beautiful collection of stories about adult children working through the death of their parents. I could relate to many of the experiences, and I felt the stories were told from the heart. A very moving collection.
Rebecca Davies
Oct 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a mixed collecting of stories about loss and grief, of things said and unsaid. The reader's reaction will be very personal- I found some hit home with me, and others less so. ...more
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Love it a great read ... so could relate to it very sad but funny moments also
Adele Sugars
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very cathartic, everyone should read.
Betty Macdonald Saudemont
Aug 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Let's get straight to the point: I absolutely loved this book! However some people may not. This collection of essays on death might be too emotional for some, others might not find themselves in it and find it a waste of time. Even though this book is mainly about baby boomers dealing with the decline of their eldery parents, which is not my experience at all, I still found comfort, catharsis and common ground in how they described their experience with death and grief. I admire how all of the ...more
Amra Pajalic
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Essays by children exploring the loss of their parents. Beautiful and heartfelt.
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