Four Eyes and Four Funerals, No Marriage Featured on The Art of Everyone
Alisha Bashaw, author of Four Eyes: A Memoir of a Millennial Caregiver, and Mike Keren, author of Four Funerals, No Marriage, were recently featured on The Art of Everyone. Bashaw and Keren discussed caregiving, memoir writing, and building a community in their interviews.
Eight months into graduate school in a new city, Alisha’s mom suffered a heart attack on her dad’s 60th birthday, rerouting her entire life and demanding that she catapult into full adulthood.
Four Eyes: A Memoir of a Millennial Caregiver chronicles the story of Alisha’s struggle to find meaning in the seemingly pointless repeated defeats of her parents’ chronic illnesses that orphaned her in her early 30s. Assuming a care-giving role for her parents in addition to pursuing her own developing life path, Alisha struggles through old maps of thinking where guilt and shame reigned until others were pleased, and she was utterly exhausted. Can she find balance between self-sacrifice and individuation, or will she watch herself slowly fade away in the process?
Her witty journey to make sense of it all takes her straight into battle with the crippling grief and powerful darkness that threaten to take over entirely. And to win, she must let go of all she once knew and follow the unknown into the world of organ donation, deep resiliency, and answer-less faith. Sometimes the answer is “I don’t know.” Sometimes the pain cannot be explained. And sometimes, the certainty of mystery is all you are given.
In Four Funerals, No Marriage: A Memoir, author Mike Keren gives his readers an inside look at his unexpected foray into caregiving to his sick and dying parents and in-laws. Often funny and always poignant, the story begins when his loving but difficult parents announce they are moving back to New Jersey from their retirement home in North Carolina because they "never really liked it there." Within days of arriving on a house-hunting trip, his father is hospitalized with a stroke and his mother with another in a series of heart attacks. At the same time, his partner's mother is recuperating from a hysterectomy and struggling with chemotherapy after a diagnosis of uterine cancer. Keren is seriously challenged by what he sees as an uncaring health care delivery system, one from which he had previously fled, leaving his career as a clinical psychologist when he felt too frustrated by the organizations in which he worked. Additionally, he must deal with the unhappy marriage between his parents, sibling relationships that have often been his undoing, a homophobic world, and his own lifetime of affective dysregulation.