Warrior Mother
Sheila K. Collins
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Buy *Warrior Mother: A Memoir of Fierce Love, Unbearable Loss, and Rituals That Heal* by Sheila K. Collinsonline

Warrior Mother: A Memoir of Fierce Love, Unbearable Loss, and Rituals That Heal
Sheila K. Collins
She Writes Press
240 pages
August 2013
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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I set out to write about my experiences as a mother who has lost two of her three adult children to horrific diseases. I voluntarily reentered those years of anxiety, trauma, and hope to better understand what transpired there.
Sheila Collins is a therapist and author (Stillpoint: The Dance of Selfcaring, Selfhealing) who uses and teaches dance as a form of emotional release. In this book, she deals with the dance of life and death, expressing a mother's grief in a unique, uncompromising story of her children.

Ken, she learned, was gay. He was a bright, unusual child, and she knew he wasn't quite like other children, but none of the usual labels seemed to apply. It wasn't until he left home that the truth began to emerge and was followed rather quickly with the revelation that he had AIDS, during a time when the disease was a stigma and treatment still in its infancy. This gave the author a new perspective on the issues surrounding AIDS and what its sufferers have to endure, physically and emotionally. Seeing Ken through to the very end of his life was traumatic but meaningful to Collins, though, as every parents agrees, it is something no parent should "have to" go through.

Unaccountably, almost unbelievably, this was not to be the end of the saga of Collins' grief, which she experienced with her husband by her side. Next, she learned that her only daughter, Corinne, had cancer, a highly invasive form of the disease that resisted every effort at a cure. As she had with Ken, Collins stayed by her daughter through every phase of the illness and was there when she died. She even went to Brazil to a noted healer on Corrine's behalf, hoping for a miracle of healing that never came. Particularly poignant are recollections of how Corinne and her husband brought their young children into this painful process; one final touch was that Corinne didn't want to die at home where memories of her passing might disturb her children later. But despite these sorrowful events, Collins and Corinne found moments to enjoy and significant wisdom to share; these will be inspirational to any reader, especially to any parent in this situation.

Collins concludes that, difficult and almost crushing as it may be, it is important that we honor those we love by taking part in their passing. She opines that,

In spite of the advances made by the hospice movement, there is still an overwhelming sound of silence regarding the wonderment of witnessing someone going out of this life. I suspect most people still have to call on the wisdom of ancestors when they take such a journey today."

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Barbara Bamberger Scott, 2013

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