Stories on ageing, illness and life
If we are ever going to truly get to know our parents, chances are it is going to happen during adulthood, long after we have tested each other’s limits and found a meeting place. And there is an even greater chance it will happen when the ‘normal life’ you once had is gone and you must reconfigure how you do things.
Amal Awad's life changed when her father was diagnosed with kidney failure. It was a shock to see the impact it had on him, both physically and mentally, and the way the side effects trickled onto those around him. Work had always made him feel whole and retirement was a challenge.
On a mission to help her father and support her mother, Amal began spending every Friday with her parents. She saw the gaps in discussion around ageing and sickness. Amal's personal experiences prompted her to explore how Australians are ageing, how sickness affects the afflicted and those around them, and what solutions exist when hope seems lost.
So many people are similarly navigating a new reality – weeks dotted with doctor appointments; conversations that deplete and reveal at the same time; reshaped family relationships. Amal speaks with doctors, nurses, an aged care psychologist, specialists, politicians, ageing people living alone and others in a retirement village, to gain insights and to consider solutions.
At a time when ageism and health is high on the public's radar, what we're not always talking about is how to deal with the anxiety, depression and overall challenges that come with someone you love facing their mortality and a decline in health.
Fridays with My Folks shares heartfelt, honest stories that will help others who are in similar positions. People who are having to reorient themselves when the boat has taken a battering and they have to take a new direction.
This book stems from personal experiences, but it expands to a much wider, more universal discussion about life, suffering, coping and hope.
“Amal Awad investigates ageing in Australia from her perspective as an adult daughter grappling with a parent’s decline. She also includes expertise from health care professionals and lawmakers, and she interviews others in similar positions—retirees, those in aged-care facilities and people being cared for by family—documenting their struggles with genuine heart. What becomes clear in Awad’s research is society’s clear discomfort with ageing, and how it is framed as a failure in our youth-obsessed society. An admirable strength of Fridays With My Folks is the strong personal thread, which connects readers to Awad’s father, a Palestinian migrant and ambitious adventurer.”
Melissa Cranenburgh, Bookseller + Publisher
“Ageing, failing health and the looming reality of once-distant death are not exactly the most cheering of subjects, but Amal Awad makes it an engaging, reflective and salutary read. A snap-shot of things as they are now, and a personal, poignant tale.”
Steven Carroll, Spectrum
“From the first page of this beautifully written book, I was captivated by Amal’s raw and honest voice. Part memoir, part interviews, part manifesto - it’s a look at how we deal with aging in Australia in a whole new way. Anyone with aging parents (and even if you aren’t in that position) will be moved and given lots of food for thought here. These people and their stories will stay with you. There are some genuine laugh out loud moments and other moments that will squeeze your heart. I cried twice reading it and I think it’s such an important book for our times. I absolutely adored it!”
“What gives this book its heft and power is not facts and figures but this blunt personal insight. It strikes me, powerfully.”
Sharon Verghis, The Australian