Susan Cushman Untangles a Mother and Daughter Facing Alzheimer's
Susan Cushman cared for her mother during her dementia journey and considered it a blessing. One of the upsides to Alzheimer’s, she says, is that she got a new mother. After a lifetime of abuse, her mother “forgot” to be cruel to her, and their relationship improved. About her book, Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer’s,” she says, “The tangles and plaques that destroyed Mother’s brain weren’t only in her brain, but also in our relationship.”
She is also the author of John and Mary Margaret, a novel that explores interracial relationships and the complexities of reconnecting with a lost love when your spouses wind up in the same memory care center.
Much of her writing is infused with elements of her own life, including the very mystical spirituality of her Orthodox Christian faith and the personal demons she has been chasing since childhood. Her essays, short stories, memoir, and novels all reflect what she has learned through many dark nights of the soul, but also contain elements of hope and healing, and honor her Southern roots.
In this episode, we discuss how she discovered an unexpected upside to Alzheimer’s, the downside of being a long-distance caregiver, and the healing power of forgiveness.
More about Susan
Susan was co-director of the 2013 and 2010 Oxford (Mississippi) Creative Nonfiction Conferences. She was director of the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop. She was a panelist at the 2017 Decatur Book Festival, the 2012, 2017, and 2018 Southern Festival of Books, the 2017 and 2018 Mississippi Book Festival, the 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019 Louisiana Book Festival, the 2018 Mississippi Writers Guild Conference, the 2018 Alabama Writers Conclave Conference, the 2018 Pat Conroy Literary Center Visiting Author Series, the 2019 Southern Literary Festival, and the 2020 AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Professionals) annual conference.
Her published books include four she has written: John and Mary Margaret (novel), Friends of the Library (short stories), Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer’s (a memoir), and Cherry Bomb (a novel). She has edited three collections of essays: A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be, Southern Writers Writing, and The Pulpwood Queens Celebrate 20 Years! In addition, she has over a dozen essays published in four anthologies and various journals and magazines.
Read Susan’s AlzAuthors posts
Connect with Susan
YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmK08WUEuxQ
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