About Mindfulness and Dying: My Review of Bless the Birds by Susan J. Tweit #FantasticFridayReads #Memoir #Inspiration

What Amazon Says

 

Writer Susan Tweit and her economist-turned-sculptor husband Richard Cabe had just settled into their version of a “good life” when Richard saw thousands of birds one day—harbingers of the brain cancer that would kill him two years later. This compelling and intimate memoir chronicles their journey into the end of his life, framed by their final trip together, a 4,000-mile-long delayed honeymoon road trip.

As Susan and Richard navigate the unfamiliar territory of brain cancer treatment and learn a whole new vocabulary—craniotomies, adjuvant chemotherapy, and brain geography—they also develop new routines for a mindful existence, relying on each other and their connection to nature, including the real birds Richard enjoys watching. Their determination to walk hand in hand, with open hearts, results in profound and difficult adjustments in their roles.

Bless the Birds is not a sad story. It is both prayer and love song, a guide to how to thrive in a world where all we hold dear seems to be eroding, whether simple civility and respect, our health and safety, or the Earth itself. It’s an exploration of living with love in a time of dying—whether personal or global—with humor, unflinching courage, and grace. And it is an invitation to choose to live in light of what we love, rather than what we fear.

Buy from Amazon.

My Thoughts

 

Last year, I almost had an opportunity to attend, virtually, a workshop by Susan Tweit held during a Wyoming Writers conference. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, the Zoom workshops were canceled. They were recorded, and I think they’re still available on the organization’s website. So, I may check them out at some point. Meanwhile, I was intrigued after reading about this memoir on Facebook.

Being a widow and having been a caregiver to my late husband for six years, I was drawn to Susan Tweit’s story. I was right there with her and Richard as they traveled through the unfamiliar world of cancer. I like how she starts each chapter by recounting a portion of their road trip and then flashing back to their life together and their battle with his illness. The epilogue and poems interspersed throughout the book add a nice touch. I admire Susan’s courage in caring for Richard and being with him at the end. This book should give you an idea of what it would be like for someone to die of a terminal illness.

Abbie wears a blue and white V-neck top with different shades of blue from sky to navy that swirl together with the white. She has short, brown hair and rosy cheeks and smiles at the camera against a black background.

Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography

Photo Resize and Description by

Two Pentacles Publishing.

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New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Photo Resize and Description by

Two Pentacles Publishing.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

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Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

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