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Nancy Reagan

Providing nourishment in loss

Providing nourishment in loss

The so-called long goodbye, suffered publicly by Nancy Reagan and privately by so many others, keeps threatening to become cliché — or yet another memoir. As the U.S. population ages, dementias are proliferating, and so are their chroniclers. Memory loss seems inevitably to spur an urge to remember — to capture sharp images of a beloved parent, spouse or other intimate before he or she fades entirely away. To this burgeoning and often heart-breaking subgenre, we can now add Alex Witchel's "All Gone: A Memoir of My Mother's Dementia. With Refreshments" — a readable and modestly affecting tribute whose gimmick is the inclusion of home recipes meant...