Present Bouquets
by Austine Royer Smith
LitFire Publishing

"“...the elderly don’t need a reminder of their mistakes because they have thrashed them over and over... they gain strength as we lavish compliments on them."

In this lovely memoir, the author takes her readers along on the ten-year journey as a caregiver of a parent. It began with a dream Smith had when her mother was 84 and lived alone in the family home. The author felt the call to return to where she grew up and assume the care of her mother. Smith had planned to work in missions in Haiti; it seemed God thought otherwise.

What she expected to be a short stay lasted ten years. Endearing times straightened out many of the misconceptions this younger daughter had of her youth. As Smith encouraged her mother’s memory, she learned how wrong she had often been about her parents and siblings. This could have been a time of testing due to dealing with a stubborn senior. Instead, mother and daughter traveled to visit the old homestead and shared daily housework. Lost slippers and other geriatric missteps turned into times of forgiveness and healing, the perfect time to give “present bouquets” rather than flowers at a funeral.

The author has a gift for crafting endearing anecdotes about an exceptional human being who just happened to be a nonagenarian. There were short-term memory and other neediness issues, but the author discovered in these some useful tips of how to coax the best from the elderly which she now shares with her audience. This small book is perfect reading for caregivers and especially for grown children blessed with an aging parent. Since the short stories were written over a space of many years and as time permitted, there is understandably some duplication. However, this only serves to make the author seem a little less of a saint and more of someone with whom the reader can relate.

Return to USR Home