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Narrative in Crisis – Brutal and Beautiful: Narrating the Tragicomedy of Dementia

March 6, 2024 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Library Alumni Reading Room

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Brutal and Beautiful: Narrating the Tragicomedy of Dementia
Mark Freeman, College of the Holy Cross

see Mark’s book: Do I Look at You with Love? Reimagining the Story of Dementia

For over a decade, I sought to tell the story of my mother, who had been stricken with dementia back in 2004. Paralleling each “chapter” of her life during this period were my own written chapters. Many of the episodes recounted were tragic: a vibrant, intelligent woman was being taken down by a dreaded disease, and at times it seemed that the only story to be told was one of painful demise. Others, though, were quite beautiful and called for a lighter touch. Once my mother left us, back in 2016 at age 93, it was time to draw together the various chapters of her life into a larger story. The challenge was how to tell it. Ultimately, the story emerged as a kind of tragicomedy — that is, a story that includes the full range of lived experience, from the awful to the awesome. Alongside sharing some significant passages from the book, I will also share some supplemental thoughts about narrative — as it pertains both to my mother’s experiential world and to the story I have sought to tell.

This event is open to the public.