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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Anyone who has ever had to take on the onerous task of being chief caregiver to parents, once they have become incapable of fully looking after themselves, will fully relate to Virginia A. Simpson's memoir, The Space Between. In my own late adult years, I faced this same challenge with my mother, for about the same length of time as "Ginni" did, and like the author, I nearly fell apart at the seams with the load I had chosen to carry. And yet, just as Virginia found, that load brought about one of the best times in my entire relationship with my mother. It was a time when, at last, we came to know so much more of each other than we had during all the The Space Between our mothers' healthy days and subsequent decline, a time when honesty mattered more than keeping face and always being strong.
This is the story that Virginia A. Simpson shares in The Space Between. With the help of Linda Joy Myers of the National Association of Memoir Writers, Simpson has "gone deep", where one should go when writing a memoir. By doing so, by baring her innermost thoughts, fears, and regrets about her past relationship with her mother, and through this chance that life has now given them both, they get to know and understand each other so much better. Virginia discovers the real reasons why her mom was the way she was and why she, in turn, became who she is. And the most important thing they each discovered was that all along, they had indeed truly loved each other, but too many things had gotten in the way of expressing it. That was exactly what I had experienced with my mother.
I am a huge believer in the importance of writing memoirs. It is stories like The Space Between that puts into print what everyday people live with and feel. The world wide web can fill us in on what we need to know when we become chief caregiver to someone we love. But it is memoirs like The Space Between by Virginia A. Simpson that will tell us how it really feels to step into that role.