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  • Stuart Holley

An Extra Pair of Hands


Best selling novelist, playwright and non-fiction author Kate Mosse spoke passionately about caring for older relatives in conversation with palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke during a Wellcome Collection discussion on 8 June.

The webinar was held to mark the launch of her new book, An Extra Pair of Hands: A Story of Caring, Ageing and Everyday Acts of Love, and can be viewed on YouTube (An Extra Pair of Hands with Kate Mosse and Rachel Clarke | Wellcome Collection). The book is jointly published by Profile Books and Wellcome Collection and the hardback edition costs £12.99. In describing her role caring for her parents and mother-in-law, Mosse celebrates older people and urges us to find a new way of living and thinking about ageing. In the discussion she spoke affectionately of her mother-in-law, Granny Rosie, who lives with her now and who helped her write the book.


In the closing chapter, Mosse says: ‘This is the most personal book I have written, and is a celebration of three wonderful people – my father, my mother and my mother-in-law…


There were may long days and even longer nights. There were disagreements and misunderstandings, all the more upsetting for being relatively rare. There were days when the relentless problems – of walking of discomfort of wounds that wouldn’t heal, of spirits sinking lower and lower – felt too much. Too much sadness and regret for the passing of things…


There were days of anxiety and rage, impatience and guilt at being impatient. The books not written, the cycle of laundry, meals that no one wanted. Ambulances called in the middle of the night. Days of remorse and reproach so familiar to all carers, the sense that you are failing at everything. That I should have done more, I should have coped better.


But, when all’s said and done, I’d not have had it any other way. We are who we are because of those we love, and those we allow to love us.’

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