Odyssey of Ashes: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Letting Go by Cheryl Krauter
Publisher: She Writes Press, (July 20, 2021)
Category: Memoir, Grief, Loss, Healing
Available in Print and ebook, 168 pages
Odyssey of Ashes: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Letting Go begins with the sudden death of Cheryl Krauter’s spouse. Five months later, in a stroke of irony and magic, her husband wins a long-desired guided fly-fishing trip in a raffle―and Cheryl decides to go in his place, fulfilling a promise to scatter his ashes by a trout stream.
Part I of this memoir is an account of the first year after Cheryl’s husband’s death, where she becomes an explorer in the infinite stream of grief and loss, a time traveler between the darkness of sorrow and the light of daily life. Part II concludes with stories of the poignant and humorous adventures she had during the ensuing year. Tying it all together and woven throughout is Cheryl’s account of the creation of an altar assembled during the three-day ritual of Los Días de los Muertos.
Poetic and mythological, Odyssey of Ashes is a raw story of loss and the deep transformation that traveling through darkness and returning to light can bring.
Guest Review by Sal
A stunning, emotional memoir about one woman’s struggle with grief, acceptance and the life beyond both.
Cheryl Krauter’s husband, John, died suddenly of a stroke one night in their home. Having only recently recovered from a bout of breast cancer that almost took her own life, Cheryl is devastated and overwhelmed by the loss.
A few months later, while her world is still in upheaval, Cheryl is shocked to discover that John has won a raffle for an all expenses paid fly fishing trip that he had always wanted to go on. When he was alive, John was an avid fly fisher and although, in the beginning of her marriage Cheryl wasn’t too keen on the sport, she began enjoying it as therapy while recovering from cancer.
Knowing that her husband had always said he wanted his ashes scattered in a fly-fishing stream, Cheryl decides to go on the prized trip in order to fulfill that final wish for the man that she loved. What follows is a touching and sometimes downright funny trip into the wilds of Montana that any memoir-lover will enjoy.
Cheryl Krauter’s writing is marvelous. As an avid Buddhist, she shares many quotes and meditations from her religion as well as quotes from famous authors, musicians, and other sources.
The book is divided into two parts, the first of which gives more of a background on John and Cheryl’s life together. The second contains most of her fly-fishing adventure in Montana.
This was both a poignant and beautiful book and one that I know I will remember for a long time to come. Cheryl’s take on grief and healing are so universal that anyone can relate to them and she writes with the conviction of a woman who has been through the worst and come out the other side.
About the Author
CHERYL KRAUTER is a San Francisco bay area psychotherapist with more than forty years of experience in the field of depth psychology and human consciousness. A cancer survivor, she is the author of Surviving the Storm: A Workbook for Telling Your Cancer Story (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Psychosocial Care of Cancer Survivors: A Clinician’s Guide and Workbook for Providing Wholehearted Care (Oxford University Press, 2018). She lives with her personal assistant, a cat named Amie.
This giveaway is for 2 print copies and ends on September 4, 2021 at 12 am, PST. Entries are available via Rafflecopter only.
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“Cheryl Krauter’s latest memoir, Odyssey of Ashes, is both a moving tribute to her late husband John and the celebration of an emergent woman who finds herself “being carried on great winds across the sky” in a cradle of intermittent sorrow and enlightenment.
Written in an enjoyable flowing format with chapters divided between two main sections, Krauter’s book will break your heart while channeling habits of self pity toward doing a greater good.. you’ll find good examples of ways to carry on.. Krauter shares personal, interesting anecdotes.
I highly recommend this book for those who’ve lost a spouse and want to understand how one woman is working through it.”- Shawn LaTorre, Story Circle Book Reviews
“In this engrossing memoir, Krauter shares her journey through the deep waters of grief. Her graceful writing reminds us that the cycle of love and loss is as natural as the river current, and it is only through fully embracing the force of the waters that dry land can eventually be found.”
–Allison J. Applebaum, PhD, director of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Caregivers Clinic and editor of Cancer Caregivers
“What a moving book about loss and mourning. Cheryl finds solace in, among other things, trout fishing, rituals, Buddhist wisdom―and, luckily for us, writing about her experiences.”-A.J. Jacobs, editor-at-large of Esquire magazine and author of Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey
“With profound insight, Cheryl explores the spiritual nature of life and death, the sacred connection between love and loss, life and death. A work of depth and infinite caring, this book is ultimately a gift of love, hope, and survival.”-Cindy Rasicot, author of Finding Venerable Mother: A Daughter’s Spiritual Quest to Thailand