Echoes of a Caregiver: Jodie Foster’s Tribute to Mom with Dementia

9 Comments

The 2013 Golden Globe Awards were memorable, not only for the amazing dresses and surprise winners, but also because of the unique acceptance speech given by Jodie Foster, winner of the Cecile B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.

Over the course of her career, Foster has acted in dozens of films, including; The Accused, Nell and Silence of the Lambs, and received a host of accolades, from Golden Globes, to BAFTAs.

Upon receiving her latest award, Foster's acceptance monologue flowed like a heartfelt stream-of-consciousness—including thank-yous to her manager, children and friends.

Near the end of her address, as Foster shifted her focus to her mother, Evelyn, who suffers from dementia, a crystalline clarity enveloped her words:

"Mom, I know you're inside those blue eyes somewhere and that there are so many things you won't understand tonight. But this is the only important one to take in: I love you, I love you, I love you."

Through a series of sorrow-driven vocal hitches, Foster continued:

"And I hope that if I say this three times, it will magically and perfectly enter into your soul, fill you with grace and the joy of knowing that you did good in this life."

One might assume that Foster's beautiful sentiments must surely spring from a rock-solid bond between mother and daughter. But Foster and her mother, who was also her manager growing up, have not always seen eye-to-eye.

While discussing her relationship with her mother in a 2011 interview with David Letterman, Foster laughs and quips, "She was a mostly negative influence in my life." Foster goes on to clarify that her mother often took a cautionary approach to her acting career, telling her that it wasn't going to last forever.

Evelyn would often ask her daughter what she wanted to be when she grew up, a lesson that apparently sunk in, as Foster took a brief hiatus from acting to attend Yale University, where she earned a degree in literature.

When Letterman asked Foster what she thought of her mother's somewhat doomsday style of parenting, she replied that it was a largely a good thing and kept Foster from being overly influenced by the capricious nature of life in the spotlight.

Most people will likely remember Foster's Golden Globes speech because she alluded to possibly retiring from acting and made some gossip-provoking comments regarding her sexuality.

But her words to her mother serve as a poignant reminder of the strength and power of love, even in the midst of the darkest of diagnoses.

With her eyes fixed on the cameras in front of her, Foster closed her address to her mother with two sentences that mirror those in the hearts of caregivers everywhere:

"You're a great mom. Please take that with you when you're finally okay to go."

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9 Comments

When Jody Foster told her mother "I love you, I love you, I love you" and hoped that magically and perfectly it would enter her mother's soul, it actually with the first "I love you". Individuals living with Alzheimer's see, hear, and feel everything. They just cannot make good sense of it at the time it happens. They also travel in places we have never been to and therefore can stay in contact with those living and those who have already gone. It is a very special condition but also very difficult for those of us who care so much for them.

Dr. Ethelle Lord
Pioneer in Alzheimer's Coaching
Her comments about her mom certainly brought tears to a lot of eyes, including mine. Very heartfelt and very relatable to so many of us.
Well done Jody. Love your work. I'm finding with my sweet 78 yo Mother, that forgiveness is easier than letting go. It truly is as Amy Grant said: " The longest goodbye".