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As a bookseller, I see a lot of memoirs about caregiving, from established authors to folks who have chosen contract publishing. And why not? Caregiving is an almost universal experience and one that generates a lot of memories and moments. It is hard not to see ourselves in the folks we care for, leading to more than one bout of philosophical musing. But not every writer can get at those small moments like Elizabeth Berg. Her father was a military man, while her mother seemed to accept her role to serve him, as long as she got time for little pleasures, like shopping with her sisters at Herberger’s. But with Art in decline, Jeanne chafes at his constant presence and rebels at leaving her longtime house in St. Paul for assisted living. The story has a diary structure, offering immediacy to the story, and showing Berg’s skill at quickly bringing to life family, friends, and even incidental characters. But most importantly, I’ll Be Seeing You succeeds at what it set out to do, sharing that story that so many of us must face, with all the drama and insight of one of her novels.— Daniel Goldin
The beloved New York Times bestselling author tells the poignant love story of caring for her parents in their final years in this beautifully written memoir.
“I’ll Be Seeing You moved me and broadened my understanding of the human condition.”—Wally Lamb, author of I Know This Much Is True
Elizabeth Berg’s father was an Army veteran who was a tough man in every way but one: He showed a great deal of love and tenderness to his wife. Berg describes her parents’ marriage as a romance that lasted for nearly seventy years; she grew up watching her father kiss her mother upon leaving home, and kiss her again the instant he came back. His idea of when he should spend time away from her was never.
But then Berg’s father developed Alzheimer’s disease, and her parents were forced to leave the home they loved and move into a facility that could offer them help. It was time for the couple’s children to offer, to the best of their abilities, practical advice, emotional support, and direction—to, in effect, parent the people who had for so long parented them. It was a hard transition, mitigated at least by flashes of humor and joy. The mix of emotions on everyone’s part could make every day feel like walking through a minefield. Then came redemption.
I’ll Be Seeing You charts the passage from the anguish of loss to the understanding that even in the most fractious times, love can heal, transform, and lead to graceful—and grateful—acceptance.
About the Author
Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including The Confession Club, Night of Miracles, The Story of Arthur Truluv, Open House (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg’s work has been published in thirty countries, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community. She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy, Still Happy, and Happy to Be Here. She lives outside Chicago.
“This is Berg’s loving portrait of her family over time, and a bracingly honest exploration of the emotions that arise when caring for aging parents.”—Real Simple
“[Berg] writes poignantly about her aging parents and the power of connection through the years in this compelling narrative.”—Good Morning America
“Elizabeth Berg’s poignantly rendered I'll Be Seeing You shares with readers a story that is both highly personal and universally applicable. In bearing witness to her parents’s diminishing lives, and to the challenges these ‘setting suns’ present to their loving but taxed middle-aged children, Berg delivers a bittersweet account that is sad, loving, and completely authentic. I’ll Be Seeing You moved me and broadened my understanding of the human condition.”—Wally Lamb, author of I Know This Much Is True
“With her trademark compassion, humor, affirmation, and grace, Elizabeth Berg renders her own family’s experience in such a natural and bountiful way that it connects seamlessly to the reader’s own. It pierces, this book, in all the right places.”—Jessica Treadway, author of The Gretchen Question
“‘It’s hard to know how to rescue someone. It’s hard to know how to help them in the way they need to be helped.’ With honesty and tenderness, Elizabeth Berg confronts the grief, frustration, and pain of seeing her parents through the difficult changes of aging. I’ll Be Seeing You is brave, sweet, angry, loving, unbearable, and absolutely necessary.”—Stewart O’Nan, author of Emily, Alone and Henry, Himself
“Elizabeth Berg’s brave and beautiful memoir is proof that the heart, like a bone, can be broken and heal stronger. Unflinchingly honest, Berg walks into the tangled forest of sorrow and frustration familiar to anyone who’s had to contend with the end of their parents’s lives, and emerges with the understanding that love and loss are the two sides of any life well lived. You close this book reminded of our common humanity. The effect, which lingers, is something very much like grace.”—Mark Slouka, author of Lost Lake and Essays from the Nick of Time
“Berg's fans will be touched by her disclosures, and readers caring for an aging parent will see themselves in Berg’s painfully honest, beautifully written account, and be comforted by her insights.”—Booklist (stared review)
“Berg eloquently explores the pain of realizing one’s parents are in their declining years. . . . This bittersweet, touching story will particularly resonate with those caring for older parents.”—Publishers Weekly
"Readers familiar with Berg’s novels know that her stories wonderfully encompass the comforts of beauty and wry humor, but they never sugarcoat life’s hard truths. The same is true of I’ll Be Seeing You, which mines the wisdom hidden in difficult times.”—BookPage