A memoir of one woman’s experiences with tragedy and spirituality.
Debut author Marie’s 11-year-old daughter Emily suddenly died while attending a soccer camp in 1983. The author includes a photo of her open casket, adorned with cloth rainbows and stuffed animals. Marie wondered how she could carry on after such a shocking occurrence, and she explains that she “needed assurance” that Emily “was being cared for in heaven.” This led her to become involved with a church called the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness and to adopt a personal policy to “Let Go and Let God.” She met a man named Jim Daily in 1988 and soon married him; they became close as both followed MSIA techniques and found inspiration in the words of the movement’s founder, John-Roger Hinkins. The author tells of life with Jim in different parts of Alabama, of adopting an anti-inflammatory diet to counter arthritis, and of eventually supporting Jim as he battled cancer. This memoir includes many evocative details, such as how the author accomplished the nearly unthinkable task of piecing together what happened on the last day of her daughter’s life. Other portions of the book, however, are less engaging, such as a list of real estate transactions that she conducted with Jim. The latter is relevant, as the couple moved often in a short period of time, but it provides little in the way of emotional substance. The book is at its most touching when it explores spiritual specifics; for instance, Marie says that every night, she and Jim meditated and “practiced leaving our body, intending to rest in the healing arms of God’s Love.” Some moments rely heavily on MSIA-related language, such as “We held this focus to ask for the Light of Father/Mother/God.” In the end, readers will come to understand how the author met the challenge of meeting death head-on.
A strikingly honest, if unevenly written, account of time spent with life and death.