A terrifying illness becomes a catalyst for life changes in this inspiring memoir.
Debut author Cross writes that, in 2016, she considered herself to be a professional success; her reputation as a public relations professional and marketing strategist had earned her no shortage of praise. But as an overachiever, her life was filled with constant business trips that started to take a physical and psychological toll. Cross knew that something was missing in her life, which was why a January vacation to the West Indian country of Dominica with her husband, Jon, sounded just right. It was her first vacation in almost two years, and the author was eagerly looking forward to a leisurely few weeks of outdoor activities—but what happened instead changed her life forever. In painful detail, Cross describes how her appendix ruptured, making it nearly impossible for her to walk and causing her “excruciating pain.” The reality of being on a remote Caribbean island with minimal medical resources quickly turned her fear into panic as her condition began to worsen. Luckily, she was able to be transported to a hospital a long way from the hotel, where a caring team of nurses and a surgeon quickly commenced surgery. Cross describes her thoughts candidly in a style that’s direct and intimate, and her lush descriptions of the island’s natural beauty add a sense of exotic richness to the narrative. During the author’s dramatic brush with death, she notes that she was barely able to control her emotions; however, she effectively relates how the chain of events had an unexpected effect: A newfound sense of joy and gratitude took hold, and the author found a renewed sense of purpose: “My life before my appendix ruptured was such a whirlwind of activity while I tried to prove my worth, that I can see now that I wasn’t always nurturing my true self.” The memoir also includes Jon’s personal account of the experience, which gives the proceedings a documentary-like feel.
A well-paced and often frightening remembrance that delivers a powerful message about living a fuller existence.