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Rick Yancey
Peter Clines
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The Twilight Years

The Twilight Years - Sawako Ariyoshi, Mildred Tahara Akiko's life is busy. This Japanese woman works full time outside of the home and cares for her husband, her high school son and her in laws who live in a small cottage adjacent to her house. But her life really gets crazy when her mother-in-law suddenly dies of a heart attack. Now Akiko takes on the task of preparing meals, laundry and daily chores for her father-in-law, Shigezo. What quickly becomes apparent after her mother-in-law's death is that Shigezo suffers from dementia and not only is prone to wandering the streets but also needs help dressing and daily hygiene. Akiko struggles with the conflict of maintaining her role as a modern Japanese working woman and the traditional expectations of keeping home for her family and in-laws. This story hit very close to home for me. My parents are elderly and finding care for them is not only a logistics nightmare, but a subliminal source of guilt. Shouldn't I take on the role of dutiful daughter and care for them? I could empathize with Akiko's life that becomes an endless day as a caregiver. But the biggest gem for me was how Akiko finally comes to terms in her relationship with her father-in-law. Beautiful story and very touching.