This week’s other featured books, “When Lawyers Wept,” by Elizabeth S. Wolf, “The Fountain,” by John Maberry and “Narrow Bridge,” by Robbi Nester, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.
THE BOOK: Watching for Dragonflies: A Caregiver’s Transformative Journey.
PUBLISHED IN: 2023
THE AUTHOR: Suzanne Marriott.
THE EDITOR: Jennifer Caven.
THE PUBLISHER: She Writes Press.
SUMMARY: Amid the many obstacles she and her husband, Michael, face after his diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, Suzanne learns to be a compassionate caregiver both for him and, ultimately, for herself. Through love, psychological insights, and spiritual inquiry, she cultivates her abilities–and gains the courage to confront a medical system that saves her husband multiple times–but at other times threatens his life. Despite Michael’s many hospitalizations, he makes miraculous recoveries that bring fun and adventure back into their lives. When Suzanne faces her own medical crisis with cancer, their world is once again shaken–yet throughout it all, love is their bond, one even death cannot sever. Candid and illuminating, Suzanne’s story of growth through caregiving will appeal to anyone facing a life-changing crisis and seeking hard-won wisdom, comfort, and hope.
THE BACK STORY: I felt called to write this book for two reasons: (1) to help me understand and process my years as a caregiver and (2) to offer inspiration and companionship to other caregivers and anyone facing a life-altering challenge.
Writing my memoir took fifteen years. I began by writing my husband’s story, because, after having been so focused on him over the ten years of his illness, I was still putting his story up front. Gradually, I began to revise my book to focus on my journey, my story, about how I changed and grew during those ten years. Of course, his story is still there, but the focus shifted.
I kept detailed journals over the ten years of my caregiving journey and, after my husband’s death, these journal entries became the basis for my memoir. So, my story began with my husband’s diagnosis, and the book began shortly after his death.
My background in transpersonal psychology gave me the confidence and belief in myself that I needed to face the many challenges of caregiving. This background was indispensable in allowing me to access the spiritual and psychological resources to guide my growth as a person and as a caregiver. I was empowered by inner wisdom figures, dream revelations, and shamanic and Tibetan Buddhist practices, ones that also came to my aide when I faced my own medical crisis. This allowed me to see my cancer not as a possible death sentence but as an opportunity for growth. I utilized energy workers, hypnosis, guided imagery, and many other spiritual and psychological modalities in facing this challenge. My husband, though at that time in a wheelchair, was my rock, loving and supportive.
WHY THIS TITLE?: When my husband, Michael, was walking with the aid of two hiking poles, we took an RV trip up the coast of Northern California. When we stayed at a campground on the Eel River, he had a numinous experience with dragonflies. Because of the coolness of the water, he was able to walk unaided the short distance to the far side of the shallows. I was busy swimming against the mild current and letting the current carry me back, then doing it all over again. At one point, Michael called me over to the far bank where he was standing. When there,
I noticed he was watching a host of dragonflies flitting among the reeds, transfixed by their ever-changing iridescent colors. From that time forward, dragonflies became a symbol for him of a time when he could walk unaided, a time when he felt strong and whole. He became a watcher for dragonflies and a collector of dragonfly art, pins, and drawings.
After my husband’s death, I embraced this transformative symbol as my own, and I became the watcher for dragonflies.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Watching for Dragonflies is unique because it is my personal story of triumph over adversity. At the same time, it has universal appeal because many people have had monumental change in their lives. Hopefully, they will grow and learn as a result.
My target readers are fellow caregivers and anyone experiencing a life-changing event. My hope is that my readers will relate to my story and be inspired to persevere, to learn, and to grow.
“A moving story of love, loss, illness, and the beauty that persists.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The moving memoir Watching for Dragonflies is a wife and caregiver’s tale of contending with a spouse’s multiple sclerosis diagnosis.” —Foreword Reviews/
“I am in awe of Suzanne Marriott. . . She is a searingly honest writer who takes you into a world that is breathtaking in its intimacy, love, and lucidity. She is a deep traveler, a spiritual adventurer, and not only a survivor but a thriver. This is a no-holds-barred memoir by a woman who can lift you out of life’s tight places and help you to breathe, to flow with love, to believe.” —Judith Fein, award-winning travel journalist, author of Life is a Trip, The Spoon From Minkowitz, and How to Communicate with the Dead, teacher, speaker, and blogger about Transformative Travel for PsychologyToday.com
“In her memoir, Suzanne draws on her background in transpersonal psychology to access the spiritual and psychological resources that guide her growth as a caregiver. Empowered by inner wisdom figures, dream revelations, and shamanic and Tibetan Buddhist practices, she develops the inner resources she needs to support her husband in his battle with a chronic illness. This memoir is a gift to anyone dealing with their own feelings of grief and loss.” —Dr. Marilyn Schlitz, Professor of Transpersonal Psychology and President of the Academic Faculty at Sofia University and CEO/President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
“Watching for Dragonflies is an inspirational story of personal growth through adversity that will bring comfort and companionship to other caregivers. An intimate and empowering memoir.” —Rachel Howard, author of The Lost Night and The Risk of Us.
“In Watching for Dragonflies, Suzanne Marriott writes about her journey with her husband through the good times and the moments that challenge their relationship after his diagnosis of MS. It’s a story of love, letting go, and working together as a couple to live fully with awareness and growth on their spiritual journey of body and soul. This book is an important testament about the ups and downs of being a caregiver, and useful to anyone facing health challenges with someone they love.” —Linda Joy Myers, author The Forger of Marseille, The Power of Memoir, and Song of the Plains
“In Watching for Dragonflies, Suzanne Marriott generously shares her deeply spiritual journey as a caregiver to her husband who suffers from multiple sclerosis. In the throes of loss, disappointment, and pain, courage and love keep arising to meet each challenge. This is an honest and inspiring story of how true intimacy can help carry us through seemingly unbearable loss.” —Jim Cunningham, Physical Therapist, Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Trauma Resolution.
“Suzanne Marriott’s caring memoir of her love, marriage, joy, grief and spiritual seeking and of the distresses and challenges of her long caregiving is stunningly honest and inspiring.” —Judith Van Herik, Professor emerita if Religious Studies, Penn State University “Services for—and recognition of—family caregivers simply must improve. Honest storytelling like that in Watching for Dragonflies will start a revolution.” —Gretchen Staebler, author of Mother Lode: Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver.
“Suzanne’s intimate story of living through the diagnosis, long decline and death of a loved partner helps one imagine the unimaginable in such a human way. By sharing her story, she helps us face our own fears, and to see that such challenges can bring even deeper connection.” —Kathryn McCamant, author Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves and Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities.
“Thank you for sharing your memoir with me. It’s a moving and compassionate story.” —Dr. Arthur Hastings, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now Sophia University)
“Suzanne Marriott’s touching memoir stays with the reader long after its final present-tense paragraph. This is a book that needs to be read by anyone who wishes to know what it’s like to go through the stages of a chronic illness. Along with Michael, who has MS, and Suzanne, his wife and caregiver, we experience joy in their successful activities and disappointment in the ineptness of some of their health care providers. We follow the couple through years of health challenges and learn of the events that bond them together and the mishaps that appear to tear them apart. Aided by the author’s journals, which include her dreams, we are treated to realistic descriptions of the couple’s day-to-day lives as well as Suzanne’s premonitions. A very moving, true story.” —Evelyn Kohl LaTorre, author of Love in Any Language: A Memoir of a Cross-Cultural Marriage and Between Inca Walls: A Peace Corps Memoir
“Thank you for the moving, beautiful experience.” —Mike Contino, Educator, California State University East Bay and retired Executive Secretary California Mathematics Council
AUTHOR PROFILE: Suzanne Marriott is a memoirist and deep-travel writer who shares her transformative experiences with her readers. She is a member of The Institute of Noetic Sciences, Sierra Writers, and the National Association of Memoir Writers. She lives in an ecologically conscious cohousing community in the Sierra Nevada foothills. For more information on compassionate caregiving, visit Suzanne at http://www.suzannemarriottauthor.com
AUTHOR COMMENTS: There are 53 million family caregivers in the United Sates, and many feel isolated and overwhelmed. Millions more face other life-changing events. I hope my story will inspire my readers to have faith in their ability to persevere in the face overwhelming odds. Spirituality and psychological insights are sources of strength and inspiration for many who face a life-changing crisis. I hope that by describing the varied practices that nurtured my growth, I can help readers find a method that works for them.
SAMPLE: Please refer to the Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Watching-Dragonflies-Caregivers-Transformative-Journey/dp/1647424364.
The Book Seller – Grass Valley, California
All nationwide outlets through Ingram/Publishers Group West
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Watching-Dragonflies-Caregivers-Transformative-Journey/dp/1647424364/
Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/p/books/watching-for-dragonflies-a-caregiver-s-transformative-journey-suzanne-marriott/18706717?ean=9781647424367 PRICE: $8.99 (ebook); $17.95 (paperback)
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