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Swimming with Maya: A Mother's Story

Swimming with Maya: A Mother's Story

Paperback Capital Discoveries Book

By (author) Eleanor Vincent

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  • Publisher: Capital Books, Incorporated,US
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 147mm x 218mm x 24mm | 494g
  • Publication date: 15 July 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Dulles
  • ISBN 10: 1931868344
  • ISBN 13: 9781931868341

Product description

Eleanor Vincent raised her two daughters, Maya and Meghan, virtually as a single-parent while fighting her way toward a writing career. 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. Eleanor tells the story of how Maya went careening down a hill on her tricycle only to tumble onto the ground, then spring back up and do it again. As a teenager, Maya was energetic and possessed a strong streak of independence. She butted heads with her mother as she strove to find her path in life. But one thing was always clear, the close and connected relationship between Eleanor and Maya. They were like best friends or sisters, but always also mother and daughter.At age 19, Maya mounted a horse bareback as a dare and in a crushing cantilever fall, was left in a coma from which she would never recover. Eleanor s life was turned upside down as she struggled to make the painful decision about Maya s fate. Ultimately she chose to donate Maya s organs. Maya s heart was given to a man with a young family who needed a new heart to live. As time went by, Eleanor contacted and struck up a friendship with the heart recipient and his family. A story about the unique and complicated relationship between mothers and daughters, Swimming with Maya celebrates how that relationship continues to exist beyond the grave. In vivid language, Eleanor Vincent illuminates the kind of courage, creativity, faith, and sheer tenacity it takes to find one s balance after such an overwhelming blow.

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Review quote

Eleanor Vincent's memoir, Swimming With Maya, weaves together the threads of mothering, mourning, and letting go. It is the story of a mother's internal path and her struggle to understand why, in fact, our children are not our lives. As the poet Kahlil Gibran wrote, we parents are the bow, and the child is the arrow.Tapping into the darkest of all mother-fears, the opening scenes of the book are a gripping and grueling account of Vincent's 19-year-old daughter's fall from a horse, the ensuing chaos of a coma, and Vincent's decision to donate her daughter's organs after her death. Vincent's story catalogs her own process, the seesawing through grief, the way that losing her daughter forces her to examine all the other losses in her life.Vincent often uses beautiful, poignant imagery when describing some of her life's most painful moments, in the days following her daughter's accident, when Maya is trapped in the limbo of a coma .She guides readers through peculiar facts of the transplant process . Swimming With Maya is much more than a heartbreaking account of losing a child. It is a memoir about motherhood, about the tangled web of parenting and childhood .And perhaps bravest of all, Vincent reveals her own shortcomings .At the close of Swimming With Maya, Vincent keeps on keeping on, her second child, Meghan, now tucked into young adulthood, a freshman in college. There is no shiny epiphany, no gleeful shedding of her mourning robes in this book .Contemplating the death of a child is excruciating in any form, and reading Vincent's memoir is painful on a number of levels. But if a mother can take in Vincent's truth, she'll likely find it to resonate strongly, since Swimming With Maya is a story of letting go, which is the undercurrent always present in mothering. All of us will have to ease ourselves away from our babies in one way or another.