June 14 2024


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Mulgrew: Why She Wrote About Her Dying Parents

2 min read

In a new interview with TrekMovie, Kate Mulgrew spoke about her latest book, How To Forget: A Daughter’s Memoir.

In How to Forget, Mulgrew talks about taking care of her elderly parents who were dying; one from Alzheimer’s and the other from cancer.

Mulgrew decided to write the book because “These are the people who shaped me, without whom I lack all definition. And to have taken the journey of life with them, and then suddenly to have taken that turn in the road to sickness, and then to death, is a universal trip. And it cannot be other than austere in its frankness, because that is what it is. We know that that turn, that bend in the road, does not go into the flowering meadow, but into a darkening thicket from which they will never return.

“And it is that heartsick resolution with which we sort of plod through their illnesses, and with which we face their deaths. And it shapes the rest of our lives, and in this case, in How To Forget, had a very big part in my yearning to remember them as they had once been, when they were young.”

Writing the book often brought Mulgrew to tears. “I cried a lot. Loneliness is a treacherous state anyway, and just put yourself in my shoes—I was in Ireland, in the wintertime, where it is dark almost all day. There is a short window of light from 10:00 until 2:00, and then the darkness is upon one again. So I forced myself to write from — I didn’t force, I wanted to, because it was survival — to write from about 9:00, maybe sometimes 10:00, until 4:00 in the afternoon, after which I would light the fire and start to get dinner ready, or take a walk.

“And it’s then that the tears would come. Not during the writing. That happened occasionally. But after the day’s writing I would cry. And those were the tears of, I think, excavation. I think if you dig deep enough to physicalize the scratching, the wrenching, the ripping apart, you’re going to cry out in pain, and in lucid memory. And a lot of those tears were for little Katie, who didn’t have much of a say at all in Born With Teeth, but does have a little bit more of a say in How To Forget. And her journey was an intense one to take this time.”

How to Forget: A Daughter’s Memoir is available at Amazon in hardcover, audiobook, or Kindle. To get your copy, head to the link located here.

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