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 ISBN: 978-1647421328 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.
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 Guideand Workbook for Providing Wholehearted Care (Oxford University Press, 2018). She lives with her personal assistant, a cat named Amie.
Book Title: Balloons for Tiger by Lori Orlinsky Category: Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7), 38 pages Genre: Children’s Picture Book Publisher: Mascot Books Release date: May 4, 2021 Content Rating: G for everyone.
How can children begin to heal after losing a pet? Balloons for Tiger takes an imaginative look at this tough topic as colorful balloons travel from the hands of children to their beloved cat who has passed on. This book lets children open up their hearts and imaginations for a magical journey to the farthest corners of the world, where they’ll meet skydivers, astronauts, superheroes, and everything in between. As they watch the balloons voyage to the other side of the rainbow bridge, they learn to positively process their grief. Balloons for Tiger is a great tool for any child who has experienced the loss of a pet- or any other loved one, too.
I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.
I love books like this one. It is easy to read and it has bright and colorful illustrations that will keep the attention of young children. At the same time, it contains an important lesson. Balloons for Tiger teaches children that it is normal to grieve the loss of a pet and that even though their pet is no longer with them, it is still okay.
I thought of a quote from Toni Morrison when I read the author’s information at the end of the book: “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” That’s exactly what she did when she couldn’t find any books to help when they lost their cat, Tiger. How do you help young children understand death? Balloons for Tiger uses imagination and a positive way for children to deal with their grief.
There are even questions at the end for discussion and more importantly, coping strategies for parents to help their children through this difficult time.
About the Author
Lori Orlinsky is a multi-award-winning children’s book author who lives in Chicago. She was inspired to tell this story after her family experienced the loss of their beloved eighteen-year-old cat, Tiger. Unable to find books about pet loss to help her young kids cope with their grief, Lori wrote Balloons for Tiger. She hopes this book will help others, too.
Nine months ago, Tess’s five-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident. The driver, Brady Becker, was sentenced to two years in prison. It didn’t make Tess’s pain go away.
Brady also has a daughter: A twelve-year-old named Eve who walks to Chandler Middle School every day. Tess knows this because she’s been watching Eve for the last three weeks. It isn’t fair that Brady’s daughter gets to live, while Tess’s daughter does not.
When Eve goes missing, all eyes turn to Tess, who doesn’t have an alibi. But Tess isn’t guilty.
I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.
I have read Erik Therme‘s books and enjoy his writing style and the suspense in his books. I liked this book but it wasn’t my favorite. I think it’s because the loss of a child hits a little too close to home. We lost a grandbaby and if it had been because of someone like Brady, I can see my daughter-in-law dealing with her immense grief in the same way Tess does. I know everyone deals with grief in their own way, but Tess’s husband, Josh, isn’t able to give Tess what she needs. And they are both terrible at communication.
Tess following Eve might seem over the top and creepy, but she needs to channel her grief somewhere. The story was more about her grief and her failing marriage than the mystery of what happened to Eve. Tess is suspected when Eve goes missing, but could she have done it knowing the heartache she’d cause Eve’s mom?
I really liked the last quarter or so of If She Dies. A lot is resolved in Tess’s world, and there’s a big twist. This is a story of tragedy, grief, and suspense that I recommend to anyone who likes drama with a bit of suspense.
About the Author
Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways: http://eepurl.com/cD1F8L
South Yorkshire Author pens autobiography in lockdown in memory of his wife who died shortly after the birth of their son in 2018
“Pupy Love” – a heartfelt autobiography about love overcoming grief
About the Book:
Pupy Love tells us how author Ric Hart tragically lost the love of his life but found inner peace, taking major steps through his grief to find extraordinary strength, resilience and hope for his future with Hugo Jaden Hart, Ric and Jade’s only son.
Ric Hart met Jade Hazelgrave on Valentine’s weekend in 2002 and they became childhood sweethearts. They conquered many of life’s challenges that would defeat allbut the most resolute of couples, getting through sixth form, college, University and Jade leaving to go travelling. They still always found each other again and as time went on, they became truly close and connected. Their love they found aged 18 was to stay with them; it never grew old.
They had so much to look forward to in life: their careers, home plans, marriage and the final piece of the jigsaw, starting the family they both dreamed of. Their dreams were cut tragically short and Pupy Love tells us how Ric found a way through his grief to find a brighter future once again for himself and his beloved son Hugo.
Ric shows us, through his precious memories of Jade, how love truly conquers all.
About the Author:
Ric Hart is father to Hugo Jaden Hart who lost his mummy shortly after birth in July 2018. Ric lost his best friend, wife and soulmate. He is two and a half years into his journey as a single parent and widower and has found huge inspiration, peace and acceptance from the loss of his wife by keeping her memory alive through the creation of his books and finding new hobbies and projects that he knows will make Jade so very proud and keep the fire inside him alight.
“I remember sitting in my room in my apartment, and something came over me, all our special memories, our bond, our cuteness together as a couple and also one thing came to mind “Pupy Love”, which I guess was building up over the summer in my mind. It was as though I had turned my back on Jade, and it was like I had forgotten about us and all the reasons why we were always meant to be. She was my soulmate, and I had turned my back on the most important person to me, and it was like I had contact lenses in and couldn’t see properly. The following day, I went onto my brother’s computer and saw a picture of Jade, sat on a step, sucking her thumb, stroking her nose, and at that point, everything had come back with floods of feelings. I went into my bedroom and broke down for a while but realised I could do something about this or at least try. So at that moment, I said, “Right, bollox to this, I’m going to fight for the girl I want for the rest of my life.” So, I jumped in the shower and threw my jeans and jumper on and called for the earliest taxi to drive me to Jade’s parents in Wakefield, as at this point, my car was in the garage due to me smashing it up in the B&Q car park. The taxi man charged me £90. I said, “Deal just get me over to Wragby.”
“Pupy Love” by Ric Hart is available in hardback from Amazon at:
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Entertaining autobiography of a well-seasoned traveler
About the Author:
Chris Burrows was born in 1947 to a mother from Barnsley and a father from Essex. He has three great loves in his eventful life: Barnsley FC, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and his wonderful wife. His wife is his rock; Yorkshire CCC is his summertime passion; the Super Reds break his heart year after year- but he wouldn’t swap them for any other team in the world.
Excerpt from the book:
“The sales manager suddenly turned to me and said, “Don’t look out the door now, but all I can see is smoke.” And I did look out of the door and there on the 19th floor of this very large hotel was smoke so thick you couldn’t see anything. And we didn’t know where it had come from. We had no idea. Now the staff were I’m afraid typical of the Chinese. They panicked immediately and just simply did what you shouldn’t do, because at the side of every lift it’ll tell you in a hotel ‘in case of fire do not use lift’. The Chinese, on a rather lighter note, don’t put ‘if’ they put ‘when’. In other words, they’re expecting a fire. They always put ‘when there is a fire do not use the lift’. The staff just shouted, “There’s a fire,” ran to the lift, got in the lift and went down and chanced their arm. We were left.
There were the four of us and I recall there were two other men there who turned out to be two Dutchmen who were on business. And the six of us headed towards the fire exit at the far end of the corridor, which we could just about glimpse as the smoke was increasing. It was a very funny smoke. It smelled. It was a very odd thing. And we went on to the end where the fire door was and I was thinking… “Well, all fire doors should not be locked, but since we’re in China it’s a very fair bet that this fire door will be locked.” And we got there and somebody pushed it and thank goodness it wasn’t locked, but it let us out onto the fire exit which was a series of staircases going all the way down to the ground; stone staircases with a green painted bannister to guide you. And on each floor as you went down, in green, was the number of the floor. Well, I, with my poor heart and what have you, was not too sure whether I could manage this.
We thankfully were going down and not up and we began to go down and down and we put handkerchiefs over our mouths to keep out this awful smelling smoke. And we went down and down and down and eventually we got down to – and I could see it – just – the number 8 and I felt that that was it for me. I just felt that I couldn’t go any further. And I remember saying to… I don’t know where the Dutch people were, but they’d gone. They’d disappeared. Whether they’d gone quicker than us, I don’t know. I presume they must have done. And I just said to the two people who were with me, “You go on lads because I’m not going to get out of this. I will not get out of this.” And they were most encouraging and said, “Come on, come on, get up, get up, get up. You must. You must try. Get up.”
“For All the Tea in China” by Chris Burrows is available in paperback from Amazon at:
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A celebration in poetry and pictures of the beauty of flowers
About the Book:
In times of frenetic demand for instant gratification, where habitual haste often blinkers us from the splendour of the world around us, the author conjures an unhurried perspective on the most beautiful of all nature’s gifts, the flower.
With images captured by his camera and captioned by his words, FLOWER SONG is the third book of poetry by the author. His other two books “REFLECTIONS: Mirror of my Mind” and “REFLECTIONS: Rhyme and Reason” are both available from Amazon.
Foreword from the Author:
There are literally thousands of flowers to choose from; why did I pick these few for the purpose of this book? My reason for the selection is that perhaps we are generally familiar with these in average modest English gardens, woodlands and meadows. I suppose an element of personal bias, unwittingly, might have crept in. Numbers are also somewhat restrictive considering the size of the book.
This is the second edition of the book with many more new titles added and also few original ones revised. All photographs are my own except “Buddleia and Butterfly” beautifully captured by my granddaughter, Jessica, at the age of twelve.
Excerpt from the book:
Weather’s warm and fair, sky’s clear,
Spring’s in the air and Daisies appear
In the fields and on the meadows
Under the sun and in the shadows
Countless blooms and many more
Pure white petals and a golden core;
Few imposters in painted petals, colourful,
Mingling, dancing together and playful.
As the morning sun begins to rise
Daisies, slowly, unfolding their eyes
Greeting walkers and joggers joyfully,
Then, pleading ‘please tread carefully’.
Unbending and enduring plucking pains
As children, unaware, making Daisy chains;
And when the sun sets under the sky west
At day’s end eyes closed for night’s rest.”
“Flower Song” by Omar H. Malik is available in hardback from the major book retailers including Waterstones, Foyles, Blackwells and Amazon at:
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Grosvenor House Publishing Tel. 0208 339 6060 E-mail: email@example.com
ISBN: 978-1631528668 Available in Print and ebook, 237 pages
Dizzy with grief after a shattering breakup, Kristen did what any sensible thirty-nine-year-old woman would do: she fled, abandoning her well-ordered life in metropolitan Boston and impulsively relocating to a college town in North Carolina to start anew with a freshly divorced southerner.
Dismissing the neon signs that flashed Rebound Relationship, Kristen was charmed by the host of contrasts with her new beau. He loved hunting and country music, she loved yoga and NPR; he worried about nothing, she worried about everything. The luster of her new romance and small-town lifestyle soon―and predictably―faded, but by then a pregnancy test stick had lit up. As Kristen’s belly grew, so did her concern about the bond with her partner―and so did a fierce love for her unborn child. Ready or not, she was about to become a mother. And then, tragedy struck.
Poignant and insightful, From the Lake House explores the echoes of rash decisions and ill-fated relationships, the barren and disorienting days an aching mother faces without her baby, and the mysterious healing that can take root while rebuilding a life gutted from loss.
A deeply moving and absolutely heartbreaking tale of one woman’s struggle to cope with loss and change in her life and to keep moving forward.
Kristen Rademacher suffered a lot of tragedies in a short amount of time. Kristen was deeply affected by the attacks of 9/11 after having lived in New York during her childhood and then living in Boston but the grief was compounded by the fact that her serious boyfriend left her on that day.
After coping with that and trying to get back on her feet emotionally, Kristen met a new man while staying at her brother’s house. Jason was everything that Kristen is not, conservative, southern, a lover of guns and country music to Kristen’s liberal, Boston-dwelling self. They were almost polar opposites, but of course, as the saying goes, opposites attract. Shortly after they started dating and at the age of 39, Kristen became pregnant.
After nine months of excitement and anticipation, Kristen missed her due date and soon found out that her baby, though previously strong and healthy, had died in the womb. Kristen’s account of her delivery of her stillborn daughter and the despair and depression that she suffered afterward were heartbreaking to read. I would be lying if I said I didn’t tear up when she gave birth to her little girl and had to say goodbye to her only one hour later.
This book almost felt like an exorcism for the author, in a really healthy way. Kristen’s writing was very beautiful and I felt for her on such a deep level while reading. She truly made the experience of giving birth to a stillborn baby so devastatingly real for the reader in these pages. This is one to read if you love stories about overcoming life’s toughest circumstances and the enduring love of a mother.
“Over the course of this book, in well-structured, descriptive prose, Rademacher effectively leads readers through a gradually withering romantic relationship that culminates in a tragedy . . . Some of the most painful sections of the book are her loving letters to the little girl whom she held for but an hour, and whom she named Carly. It soon becomes clear that these missives helped to lead her back from a precipice of despair, so that she could finally face her future. A poignant and painful remembrance with comforting messages for the grieving.”-Kirkus Reviews
“Kristen Rademacher’s achingly honest memoir about her losses of place, partner, and much-anticipated baby daughter Carly resonates with courage and an abiding gratitude for the preciousness of life. A truly tender reflection about loss that illuminates the devastating experience of baby loss.”-Janel Atlas, writer and editor of They Were Still Born: Personal Stories about Stillbirth
“From the Lake House is an intimate, inspiring story of surviving in a world where blessings and tragedy walk hand in hand. Written with tender honesty and luscious language, it is a joy to read, even amidst the pangs of heartache and loss. As a bereaved mother, I found myself nodding in agreement with so many of Rademacher’s experiences of life after the death of a child . . . This book is for memoir-lovers and anyone who finds themselves in a turbulent relationship or who has said goodbye to a dearly loved child . . . Rademacher champions solitude for its healing capacities and the wholeness birthed from dogged, hard-earned resiliency. Perceptive and endearing, it is a moving saga of motherhood.”-Alexis Marie Chute, award-winning author of Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy After Loss
“In this beautifully written and poignant memoir, we learn that though people and dreams die, relationships don’t. If we’re attuned, the dead can transform our lives, offering enduring love and guidance―and hope.”-Carol Henderson, author of Losing Malcolm: A Mother’s Journey Through Loss and Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers
About the Author
Kristen Rademacher has lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina since 2002, which is when she began writing. FROM THE LAKE HOUSE is her first memoir. With a Master’s Degree in Education and a Professional Coaching Certification, Kristen is an Academic Coach and ADHD Specialist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also leads trainings and presentations at national conferences on the topic of academic coaching.
Publisher: White Flowers Press (Oct 28, 2014) Category: Self-Help, Mental Illness, Grief, Psychology Tour dates: Oct/Nov, 2017 ISBN: 978-0982117620 ASIN: B00S46SGFI Available in Print & ebook, 232 pages
Insightful, compelling, and compassionate, Making Peace with Suicide: A Book of Hope, Understanding, and Comfort takes a good hard look at the world-wide phenomena of suicide. This book is designed for anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide and felt that sucker punch of grief; for anyone who is in pain, walking unsteadily, and considering suicide as an option; and for anyone who works with, guides, or counsels those feeling suicidal and/or suffering the profound grief from a suicidal loss.
Making Peace with Suicide includes stories of courage, vulnerability, and steadfastness from both the survivors of suicidal loss as well as the unique perspective of the formerly suicidal. It offers shared wisdom and coping strategies from those who have walked before you. It explores the factors leading to suicide and the reasons why some do and some don’t leave suicide notes.
Making Peace with Suicide sheds light on the phenomena of suicide vis-à-vis our teens, the military, new mothers, as an end-of-life choice, and asks if addiction is a form of slow suicide. It provides a seven-step healing process and opens the door to consider suicide and the soul, the heart lesson of suicide, and the energies of suicide.
If suicidality has impacted your life, Making Peace with Suicide is a must-read. You will be guided through the unknown territory, given insights to allow understanding, stories to help you heal, and ways to make peace with a heart wide-open. Making Peace with Suicide is good medicine for the body, mind, and soul.
Review by Laura M.
When I was a young girl, my much older cousin killed himself. My mother was the one to tell me. She agreed that it was quite sad and said that it happens sometimes. She told me that is a really selfish act but some people just couldn’t survive, for whatever reason.
I don’t think most have many answers or insight, so how do you explain suicide to a young child? I think that if my mother had this book, ‘Making Peace With Suicide,’ she may have been able to better explain it to me and perhaps been better equipped to help my aunt and uncle.
The author, Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D., brings her experience, insight, and compassion to assist people in coping with suicide and attempts at suicide. The book is well written and easy to understand so it is really for anyone. I also think it should be required reading for those entering a profession that counsels people on suicide, be it a psychologist, doctor, or clergy, etc.
All these years later, the death of my cousin is still with me. I find a lot of comfort in what Ms. McDowell shares in her book and will turn to it again if the occasion should arise. I hope not but you never know what life will bring you and when. I highly recommend this book and give it five stars!
The book was sent to me for my honest opinion.
The Many Faces of Suicide
Suicide is many things.
Suicide is not a sin, from my point of view. Some religions espouse hellfire and damnation; others ponder the intention of the suicidal individual. Since I see all of us on a path to open our hearts, expand our consciousness, and operate from our Best or Higher Selves, I do not believe that the Divine—in any form or moniker— is looking to punish us for being human. The Divine is all about love—unconditional love—and helping each of us find the pathway to that conclusion. Individuals who take their life by suicide are not punished. (Quite frankly, haven’t they lived through enough hell?) That is old school thinking to me. If you believe in heaven, they are in heaven. If you believe in past lives, their souls are being readied for their next assignment. Where we all can agree is that the soul has moved out of the constraints and limitations of the 3D world and moved to another nonphysical dimension.
Suicide is not a crime. (For the record, suicide is no longer illegal in the Western world, where suicide has been decriminalized. There are, however, legal ramifications to assisted suicide and the like).
Some say the weak choose suicide. I disagree. “Weak” is not the operative word here.
Suicide can be a tipping point of pain or shame, a plea for help, a response to mental illness and haywire neurochemistry, as well as the last gasp of despair and resignation. Suicide can also be an impulsive mistake, a planned ending of life, a shredded soul, the death of the ego, or the ultimate act of rage and fury. (That rage and fury is often our much wounded child-self battling mightily for control or screaming in enormous pain.)
Suicide can be a choice that we may or may not understand on the 3D level, such as a teaching tool for our loved ones or choosing to do profound work from the Other Side.
Suicide can be a part of our destiny, our soul path toward healing.
Suicide can be the result of soul loss.
Suicide can be a game-changer. After the loss of a loved one to suicide, your view on life changes. Life becomes more fragile, more precious, and more cherished. This holds true for those who have attempted suicide as well. For them, the attempt may lead to a spurt of fresh energy and a re-engagement with life.
And suicide is definitely a societal, and, therefore, a political and moral issue. We human beings—and our organizations, corporations, or governments—can be terribly self-serving, ruthless, abusive, and tyrannical toward others. Acts of violence, war, and exploitation damage and destroy the very souls of our being. We lose ourselves and the meaning of our lives. Suicidal thoughts and actions are a part of the collateral damage of these polarizations.
Further, suicide can be a powerful teacher. It teaches us the great lesson of compassion. It opens us in ways we never thought possible. Suicide asks us to accept a loved one’s choice and circumstance. Suicide asks us to forgive ourselves for our perceived wrongdoings, including our inability to prevent our loved one from harm. Suicide requires us to face our guilt, anger, and shame. Suicide asks us to accept the unacceptable, the inconceivable, the horrific, and make peace with it. Suicide asks us to live with an open heart. This means no judgment, no castigation, and no punishment. We see one another through a lens of acceptance. We allow each other to be who we are—in all of our shortcomings and crazy-making ways as well as all of our idiosyncratic wonderfulness.