The Longest Goodbye
A poignant look at an elderly mother's battle with dementia and her son's commitment to keeping love alive, as memories fade, and life on the road is rearranged to moments in time.
Florence has always been the lifeblood of her family. After receiving her Doctorate degree, she begins experiencing sudden memory loss. At first it's little things like words or misplaced items. Things her resentful son, Lamont, a newly elected City Official, chalks up to preoccupation, age, and the strain of Donald, her irresponsible, suppressive, alcoholic, freeloading, second husband. ??
Whereas anyone can have an episode of being unable to remember a name or where they put their keys, there is a significant difference between absent-mindedness and forgetting the people who are important in your life. Florence is also forgetting herself.??
While visiting, Lamont's wife, Rose, is the first to notice subtle changes in Florence's cognitive abilities. Concerned, she makes reference to Lamont who blows them off as anxiety and stress.??
As Florence's memory continues to decline, her mood and behavior change from the uplifting and positively charged matriarch, to someone even she has difficulty recognizing. ??
Constantly frustrated and angered, she finds it more and more difficult to perform familiar task. She washes dishes in the toilet, talks into the television remote, drives her car into a ditch, and spreads feces on her bedroom wall. Anxiously finding herself out of control, she begins using foul language as an onset of the disease and as a survival, coping mechanism. ??
In constant denial over Florence's exhaustive and progressive illness, Lamont becomes overwhelmed, but is snapped into reality when she exerts crude and explicit sexual advances towards him and his traumatized teenaged son. Forced to accept his mother's affliction, he checks her into an intensive treatment facility only to threaten a lawsuit (in order to get her out) when he realizes she's being grossly misdiagnosed. ??
Now fully comprehending the scope of Florence's disease, Lamont embarks on a lively pilgrimage "Down South," with his mother to visit family, before her memories fades forever. ? While traveling, the fiercely independent Florence, becomes even more exasperated at the realization of being dependent on her son. Her constant aggression and deterioration begins to take a toll on Lamont who contemplates what to do with his dying mother.??
Coping with a terminal diagnosis is demanding. As Lamont and Florence travel, they experience full ranges of emotions; from disbelief, anger and fear, to extreme sadness, happiness and relief. What they come to understand is; unconditional love evolves and perseveres.
Eventually Florence and Lamont are able to acknowledge the disease, focus on strategies to live each day to its fullest, recognize the power of acceptance and find the courage to allow sentiments to burst through despair and accept their new normal as a family.
Also, a talented author, playwright, and actor, he wrote the 2019 Emma Children’s Book Award nominated, Jesse and the Caterpillar Who Got Its Wings and the 2020 Max Lerner Award winning play, BROKEN.