Laura Davis Shares How She and Her Mother Recovered from an Embattled Relationship

Laura Davis, author of The Burning Light of Two Stars

By Laura Davis, California, USA

My 2021 memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars, tells the story of my embattled relationship with my mother, our determination to love one another, and the dramatic and surprising collision course we ended up on at the end of her life, as her memory declined and I became her caregiver.

When I was in my twenties, my mother and I experienced a terrible rift. At 27, deep into recovering from childhood trauma, I revealed to her that her father had sexually abused me as a child. My mother denied it, abandoning me when I needed her the most—choosing her dead father over her living daughter—and the two of us became bitterly estranged.

My mother and I spent the next twenty years struggling to find our way back to each other. We “agreed to disagree” and worked hard to establish new tendrils of connection. And I thought we had reconciled. I even wrote a whole book about it, I Thought We’d Never Speak Again. But when my mother turned eighty, she called to announce that she was moving across the country to live in my town for the rest of her life. Suddenly we no longer had a 3000-mile buffer between us—and she was losing her mind to dementia.

My mother’s decline triggered every button I had. Caring for her brought up all the issues that had never been resolved between us. The Burning Light of Two Stars tells the story of what happened next. Could I find it in my heart to love her unconditionally? With all the baggage between us, was I capable of becoming the daughter she needed me to be?

I felt compelled to write this story because millions of people are faced with the same dilemma: Can I care for an aging parent who betrayed me in the past? The betrayal my mother and I experienced was huge, but maybe for someone else, the rift isn’t as huge, but it can still be significant. Even little betrayals get under our skin and stay there.

Caregiving someone with memory loss is hard regardless. Even if you’ve had a wonderful relationship, there can still be ambivalence about becoming someone’s caregiver. Caregiving is exhausting. It’s stressful. It’s hard to watch someone lose their memory. And when we have kids at home, and are in the sandwich generation, we feel squeezed like crazy. That’s how it was for me. My mother had dementia and I had two teenage kids at home. I felt wrung out and exhausted every single day. Was I doing it right? Was it even possible to do it right? I was certain I was failing everyone. And to have something unresolved in my relationship with my mother on top of all of that—made it even harder.

My memoir tells the story of caregiving a parent with dementia with the extra twist of a challenging history. A suspenseful, gripping story, The Burning Light of Two Stars will make you laugh and cry and reexamine your own caregiving relationships. I chose to portray the journey my mother and I took together in realistic, visceral detail, so that others who’ve been similarly challenged will recognize their struggles and know they aren’t alone.

Purchase The Burning Light of Two Stars on Amazon

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Listen to Laura on Our Podcast

Laura Also Appeared on our Panel Discussion “Dementia with Difficult People”


About the Author

Laura Davis, The Burning Light of Two Stars Laura Davis is the author of seven bestselling books, including The Courage to Heal and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again. Her groundbreaking books have been translated into 12 languages and sold two million copies. In addition to writing books that inspire, the work of Laura’s heart is to teach. For more than twenty years, she’s helped people find their voices, tell their stories, and hone their craft. Her memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars, tells the dramatic story of becoming a caregiver for a parent who betrayed you in the past. You can learn about her books and workshops at

Connect with Laura Davis


Facebook @LauraDavis&TheWritersJourney

Instagram @laurasaridavis

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