This summer, in an attempt to describe my memoir and the reason(s) I wrote it, this was as succinct but detailed a summary as I could come up with:
When my mother died in 2002 at the age of fifty-nine, I found myself both shattered and honored to have been a witness. In order to live and to keep her memory alive, I needed to make sense of her death.
I knew I would inevitably write about her, but I wasn’t certain what form the material would take. Eventually I realized it could be –it had to be– a memoir. The result is Please Talk about Me When I’m Gone.
The antagonist of this particular tale is cancer, but implicit in the narrative is an appreciation that a struggle with illness—and the ways it can unite or disintegrate families—is a true story for too many people. It can be a horror story or a ghost story, a love story and a real-life fairy tale, where memory and devotion are capable of outlasting death.
My ultimate goal is to raise awareness, and I will be working closely with cancer-affiliated groups and charities to raise funds. My experience has reinforced a belief that nobody should (or need to) go through this alone: if my memoir builds solidarity and empowers anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation, I know I’m honoring my mother’s memory in a way she would advocate.
I’ve been delighted to meet some fascinating people (and hear some of their sad, inspiring and happy stories) these past few months. I’ve also been gratified to work with –and for– some remarkable organizations, like the Lombardi Center @ Georgetown and Hospice of the Piedmont. It was meaningful on several levels to raise money for these groups, and I look forward to doing much more of this in 2014 –and beyond.
With his permission, I’m sharing the message I received this morning from James Avery, the CEO of Hospice of the Piedmont. It speaks volumes about the kind of person he is, the type of organization he represents (much more on that HERE), and why I am dedicated to doing as much as possible to assist them in their work. It also is nice validation that I’ve achieved a portion of what I set out to do. In a year full of bright moments, this is a big one, and one I’ll carry with me for a long time.
If you’ve read the book and want to help, check out these organizations. Consider a donation. Contemplate leaving a review for my memoir @ Amazon and/or Goodreads.com; word-of-mouth is still the most effective method for getting the word out. Tell a friend, buy it as a gift for someone. And above all, stay healthy and have a safe, happy holiday season!
From: James Avery
To: Murph <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thu, Dec 19, 2013 8:44 am
Subject: Thank you! Thank you!