A woman diagnosed with breast cancer receives spiritual comfort and support from generations of female ancestors in this debut memoir.
In her introduction, Dobbe outlines the factors that helped her to face the most challenging period of her life with courage and determination. She did so, she says, by exploring “the gloomiest as well as the most glorious parts of my soul.” She asserts that her deep connection to numerous past and present female relatives helped to guide her on her journey. These included her sister, who received a diagnosis of cancer before Dobbe received her own; the spirit of her late mother, whose near-death experience during a World War II bombing in the Netherlands, she says, left her with psychic abilities; and her grandmother, whose spirit lovingly teaches the author, decades after her own death from breast cancer. Dobbe, an acupuncturist and tulip farmer, writes that she’s keenly attuned to both the mystical rhythms of nature and the possibilities of alternative methods of medical treatment. She says that she helped to ease her sister Coby’s suffering with plant-based remedies, such as curcuma and cat’s-claw, and that she finds her own comfort and spiritual guidance from meditating among trees. When family divisions surface after Coby’s death, Dobbe negotiates them by entering “the sacred circle” with the spirits of her sister and other “women of my tribe,” where she receives loving advice about mending damaged connections. The author’s tone is warm and enthusiastic throughout this work, and her journey through her family history is compellingly intimate; for example, she espouses the theory that one’s ancestors’ trauma gets embedded in one’s genetic code, so that in this remembrance, she’s exploring her own inherited pain. Some readers may need to suspend their disbelief, though, when she recounts her psychic experiences; the language of members of Dobbe’s aforementioned tribe, for example, sometimes sounds a bit like modern psychotherapists’, as when one explains the author’s grandmother’s pain as being “a compilation of mental and emotional experiences.” Overall, however, the narrative offers a tender portrait of human suffering.
An often revealing book about a search for spiritual solace.