My publisher asked me to identify ten quotes from Swimming with Maya for promotional blurbs. OK, I thought to myself, how hard can that be?
Swimming with Maya is a crisis memoir that plumbs deeply the intense shock, grief, and anger that followed in the wake of my daughter’s accidental death. What I wrote in those pages about events now twenty-years-old continues to move and amaze me.
I read page after page, tears streaming down my cheeks, putting colored paperclips on passages so raw they take me right back to the afternoon Maya died and I made the decision to donate her organs and tissues to people in need.
The last third of the book is about how I healed my grief. Those stories – how I wrote my way, slowly and haltingly, to acceptance, worked out long buried family patterns in therapy, sought out people who inspired me, including the man who received my daughter’s heart – are the light that draws me as a reader. Of course, I know how the story turns out. Yet there are moments I’ve forgotten and reading about them makes the experiences alive and fresh again.
Here’s one from Chapter 3: “Maya’s chest rises and falls. The ventilator hisses, the computers beep, fiber optic cable snakes into her skull. I never knew love could be so big, that it could expand to allow even this. I have a premonition of lifelong grief rolling toward me, but I know that, once again, I am being asked to give my daughter her freedom.”
That was the moment I realized I had no right, nor any power, to hold my daughter here. I had to let her go. I gave in to her coma and ultimate death because they were hers not mine, a destiny I could never have imagined. That moment of surrender marked me for life.
This was not an easy book to write, nor is it easy to read.
So why read it? Is there something to be learned in these pages that is valuable enough to offset the pain?
I believe we read to experience life vividly. Good writing puts us inside the mind and heart of the writer, creating a world we can inhabit, a safe space to vicariously experience another’s life.
Swimming with Maya is vital testimony about how losses can be healed. It was worth writing. I hope you find it worth reading. A paperback and eBook version will be available early in February from Dream of Things press at http://dreamofthings.com or you can visit the Amazon website today at http://www.amazon.com/Swimming-With-Maya-Mothers-Discovery/dp/1931868344 for the hardback version.