Blogging Mama

Total Pageviews

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

WOW! Blog Tour - Swimming with Maya by Eleanor Vincent; Guest Post "Resilience"

Join me as I welcome New York Times Best Selling Author Eleanor Vincent and her inspirational memoir, Swimming With Maya.  First, let's hear from Eleanor about Resilience and then you'll find the giveaway for her memoir, Swimming with Maya ... and beneath that is a book summary and author biography.Thank you WOW! Women on Writing for today's book blog tour.



by Eleanor Vincent
About six months after my 19-year-old daughter Maya died, I remember walking home from the commuter train station in so much pain I was not sure I could make it. When I reached my driveway, I was choking back tears. I looked up and saw a giant Redwood tree, the furls and gnarls in the bark, the majestic branches, and the strength coming from that tree went straight to my soul. In that moment, I realized that, like the tree, I had to stand through all weather until the storm passed.
Today's WOW! Women on Writing guest blog appears at Create Write Now, where I reflect on how, like the tree, I had to be resilient.
When the unimaginable happens, how do we go on? This is the question Swimming with Maya attempts to answer. How do we get back up after life knocks us down? As a memoir, my book is a very personal account of one woman’s journey. It is not a self-help book, but it is inspirational and motivational because it shows how I became moreresilient than I ever thought I could be.
Resilience is mysterious! For me, it’s a combination of divine grace and luck of the draw. I’ve always been an optimist. Perhaps I was born that way, or maybe I absorbed it as a child by watching my mother and father.
Both my parents were professional actors and my Dad’s motto was “The show must go on.” Even under trying circumstances, my parents expected me to go out and do my best. I saw both my parents do this against tough odds so I picked it up early.
I learned to find humor in almost any situation. The saying “Tragedy plus time equals comedy” rings true for me. While I can’t quite get there with Maya’s death, I can remember plenty of other difficult experiences and laugh about them. Humor figures in some parts of Swimming with Maya, and in almost everything I write there is always a dollop of irony. I try not to take myself – or life – too seriously!
The geriatric psychiatrist Helen Lavretsky, MD, writing in Psychiatric Times, says resilientpeople are characterized by commitment, dynamism, humor in the face of adversity, patience, optimism, faith and altruism. My type-A father was naturally gifted with six of the seven traits, but Dad was not a patient person.
As my father aged, he faced challenges that would have defeated many.  He recovered from colon cancer surgery and a broken hip, and until his death at the age of 92, was president of the resident’s council at his nursing home, despite his advancing dementia. His final illnesses forced patience upon him.
Whether by nature or nurture, I have followed my father’s example by handling setbacks with renewed determination. My default setting is always humor and a belief that I’ll do better next time. Try telling me I can’t do something, and I will prove to you that I can!
The death of a child is considered one of life’s worst events. I won’t sugarcoat it. I thought losing Maya would kill me. And for the first two years after she tied, I clung to any life raft I could, including the image of that Redwood tree. But after 21 years of mining the gifts of grief, being inspired by people like my Dad, and learning to take really good care of myself, I can truthfully say my life is better than ever.
Deciding to donate Maya’s organs and tissues to strangers in need (altruism) was a huge factor in my recovery, and in the way my surviving daughter Meghan dealt with the loss of her sister. We were privileged to have something miraculous came out of something horrific. That gave us hope. Having hope motivated me to keep on keeping on.
In Swimming with Maya I recount our journey in detail. Please enter to win a copy of my book.

Swimming With Maya: A Mother’s Story is a memoir that has been called "heartbreaking and heart-healing," Eleanor Vincent shares an inspiring true story of courage, creativity, faith, and sheer tenacity as she seeks to find balance after unthinkable tragedy. 

Previously available only in hardcover, Swimming with Mayademonstrates the remarkable process of healing after the traumatic death of a loved one. Eleanor Vincent raised her two daughters, Maya and Meghan, virtually as a single-parent. Maya, the eldest, was a high-spirited and gifted young woman. As a toddler, Maya was an angelic tow-head, full of life and curiosity. As a teenager, Maya was energetic and independent, and often butted heads with her mother. But Eleanor and Maya were always close and connected, like best friends or sisters, but always also mother and daughter. 

Then at age 19, Maya mounts a horse bareback as a dare and, in a crushing cantilever fall, is left in a coma from which she will never recover. Eleanor's life is turned upside down as she struggles to make the painful decision about Maya's fate. 

Ultimately, Eleanor chooses to donate Maya's organs. Years later, in one of the most poignant moments you will ever read about, Eleanor has the opportunity to hear her daughter's heart beat in the chest of the heart recipient. Along the way, Eleanor re-examines her relationship with her daughter, as well as the experiences that shaped Eleanor as a woman and as a mother to Maya. 

An inspirational/motivational true story recommended for anyone who has experienced tragedy, who is grappling with traumatic experiences of the past, or who wants to better understand the strength and healing power of the human spirit.

Paperback: 340 Pages
Publisher: Dream of Things (March 26, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0988439042
ISBN-13: 978-0988439047

Twitter hashtag: #SWMaya

Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story is available as a print and e-book at AmazonBarnes & Noble, andIndieBound.

About the Author:

Eleanor Vincent is an award-winning writer, and current New York Times Best-Selling Author whose debut memoir,Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story, was nominated for the Independent Publisher Book Award and was reissued by Dream of Things press early in 2013. She writes about love, loss, and grief recovery with a special focus on the challenges and joys of raising children at any age.

Called “engaging” by Booklist, Swimming with Maya chronicles the life and death of Eleanor’s nineteen-year-old daughter, Maya, who was thrown from a horse and pronounced brain-dead at the hospital. Eleanor donated her daughter’s organs to critically ill patients and poignantly describes her friendship with a middle-aged man who was the recipient of Maya’s heart.
Since the initial publication of Swimming with Maya in 2004, Eleanor has been a national spokesperson on grief recovery and organ donation, appearing on CNN and San Francisco’s Evening Magazine. She has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, and been interviewed on radio and television programs around the country.

She was born in Cleveland, Ohio and attended the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College, where she occasionally teaches writing workshops on creative nonfiction and memoir.

Her essays appear in the anthologies At the End of Life: True Stories about How we Die (edited by Lee Gutkind); This I Believe: On Motherhood; and Impact: An Anthology of Short Memoirs. They celebrate the unique and complicated bonds between mothers and daughters, making hard decisions as a parent—whether your child is 14 or 40—and navigating midlife transitions with grace and authenticity. She lives in Oakland, California.

Find out more about this author by visiting her online:

About Me: 

No comments:

Post a Comment