And I can't really believe this - even though I know it's true. I can't believe that my mom wouldn't want to do whatever it took to stay living, to be my mother. I look at the clock. It's only 10 at night, though it seems like it should be four in the morning, or a time that no one's ever heard of, a time that never existed before, and I call Martha and through my sobs she understands and she comes, and Suzanne comes and they are trying to hold my mom's head up so she doesn't strangle; we are trying to keep her from keeling forward so she doesn't smack her head on the hospital bed railings.
Martha is in tight black jeans and a ribbed orange shirt and she looks like she ought to be studying for something, and Suzanne smells sweet, like hay. And they are bringing their hands around my mom's body, they are feeling for her energy field, because once they tried to learn therapeutic touch and none of us is ready for this. I am willing her to come back, come back, and we are yelling: Take a Breath!
Don't Stop! Open Your Eyes! Say My Name! But she's barely breathing, nodding, keeling, she will not open her eyes. One breath, two breaths and then none. But when we try to force her backward on to the bed, we are tired, so tired and we want her to lie down on her own, how can we spend the night like this, propping her up, it takes at least two people. When we try to force her, her eyes fly open in alarm and she gasps NO.
Somewhere in all of this my father goes into the kitchen and gets the tortilla chips and my dad and I sit there, eating chips and watching Mom, while Martha and Suzanne hold her to keep her from falling. She's choking, turning grey. We're all crying. We're willing God to come into the room and save her, save this woman he's done nothing but punish. And as the dark outside begins to soften back into light, my mother heaves a giant breath.
Everyone pauses. And then, another. And then she seems to be breathing. It slowly begins to pick up and by dawn she's alive again. Mom swims in and out of sense. She hasn't recovered from that horrible night. She won't recover. The plethora of meds, the respiratory failure - these things have conspired against her brain, have addled and damaged it. I can't get my own brain to register the truth of it; I don't understand the body, I've decided. And I'm beginning to realise that her words, her gestures, her thoughts and ideas - these are bodily, too.
The morning after the overdose, my father and I sat next to each other at the kitchen table. Again, he looked so fragile, so afraid. His hair mussed and his arms thin. I imagine Barb's vinyl bag. A bag filled with the muffled sound of questions that can't get asked, of love that cannot be expressed, of memories shut off by chemicals. We agree, my dad and I.
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When our eyes meet I feel a swirl of intensity. My father and I are tied by blood and love to this woman, to this house, to this problem that keeps metastasizing and will metastasize, we know, until it shatters. I don't want my mother to die. She's downstairs now, her breathing laboured, her face creased and ashen. She's swollen everywhere and on her sternum you can actually see the skin puffed out where the tumours have grown, like a basketball rising from her chest.
Barb can't understand why my mother continues to go on, why she doesn't take more medicine to make herself "comfortable". She's straightening up her files. This is not the first time someone has told me this. That someone has suggested that if I dig into my pockets I will find a little brass key that will unlock the door to a happy, peaceful death. But no matter how many times someone tells me a story about "releasing the dying", I'm not going to say this. I won't be OK. And this is not only because her movements and thought patterns are my own, not because I have talked to her almost every day of my life - but because "OK" is a dumb word.
I will not be OK. It would be like being nice. I may be anguished and exhausted or anxious and excited. But I am never OK. And when my mom dies it will be crushing pain, a silence that will fill me and break me over and over again, daily, relentlessly. The idea of losing her has been careening around me since I was 19, like a maniac bird, and I'm not stupid, I've paid attention. There is nothing OK about it. My eyes are hot. It would be your final present.
You Get Past the Tears: A Memoir of Love and Survival
I nod. She shakes her head and takes a step toward the door. The darts in her gaze have melted and now she is pitying, now she is on a tall boulder looking down. There is no order to the universe and I can't sign up for one. And right before she shuts herself safely out of this death house, she looks straight at my face as if she must articulate this in order to believe it.
And then she's gone. Barb left me two brochures by the kitchen phone. One is the customary lavender. I open the book to the first page: blank. A promising sign.
That's how the book should look. Twelve blank pages. But then, I turn to the next. It says: "The experience we call death occurs when the body completes the physical process of shutting down and the spirit releases from the body, it's [sic] immediate environment, and all attachments. Physically, this is an orderly and undramatic [sic] series of bodily changes which do not require emergency medical attention.
There are several lists of symptoms and a little paragraph about "giving permission to let go". It may be as simple as saying 'I love you'. Tears are a normal and natural part of saying 'Good-Bye'. Tears do not need to be hidden from your loved one or apologised for. Tears express your love and help you let go.
I shut the booklet and carefully rip it in half.
Tears for My Mother
The other brochure is entitled "The Power of Prayer". I don't bother to look at that one. Barb, after acknowledging my Jewish ancestry, mentioned that it included a Web URL for purchasing a prayer that would be put into the Jerusalem wall. I shove the papers under other papers and go upstairs. I take pills to go to sleep. I swim out into a blank world, full of heaviness and white. I stumble downstairs for coffee when I wake up - the sun is torturously bright through the skylights. I'm still gooey from the drugs, and suddenly I feel it - a rage so intense I can't hold my coffee cup.
Who does Barb think she is? What is this business about suffering? Barb started coming here two weeks ago, but this has been going on nine years. My mother has suffered long and hard to stay in the world. If there hadn't been suffering, there wouldn't have been life. And why should she give up today? Why should she look out the windows at the large fir trees, the blue sky turning bright with impending winter, the dogs panting at the glass door - why should she see the beautiful cherry wood dresser she chose a year ago, the photographs of me with my graduation cap on, the books she's been meaning to read, the lists of people who've called her.
Why should she see all the pieces of her world and wish to leave it? I hate him! And I hate the social worker, though she's new to us, our old one had to deal with a personal crisis and quit her job - I don't want any more people coming in to this house with their maps to heaven, telling us our time is up, that Mom is better off obliterated, better as a heap of rotting cells in a plain pine box.
My whole face stretches. My eyes bulge. Suzanne and Martha walk into the kitchen. I hate them, too. I'd trade every single one of them for another week with my mother. I run upstairs and get dressed. I have no idea what I'm wearing - things to cover the body. I take a clip and ball my hair into it. If I look crazy, all the better. I hate them all. I won't bathe, I won't brush my teeth.
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I don't want anyone near me, not now, not ever. I can not begin to imagine what this family went through and the courage that Cathy had to write this heartbreaking book. I read this with a massive lump in my throat. Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.
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May 26, Karen rated it it was amazing. If I could not read anything so sad again, I would be quite content. With straight forward language Cathy tells us the story how she lost two daughter's, each death was very tragic and senseless. This book haunted me and left me feeling quite depressed all day after reading it in one sitting. Beautiful Kirsty went missing and the worry I felt while reading this was quite palpable.
Cathy's other daughter literally died from a broken heart from the grief she felt from losing her sister. In the next few years after Kirsty's murder, Haley begins to drown her sorrows in the bottle. Haley literally drank herself too death. How this mother who is so grief stricken finds the courage to share her story is extremely brave. Cathy and her husband Dave have only one daughter named Sonya and Sonya's children. Brutal, unflinching honesty, massage parlors, murder, alcoholism are all part of this heartbreaking story. It is not in any way an inspirational read and I would caution people that this story is very bleak.
Sometimes reading a sad true story leaves you feeling devastated for the pain this family endured. Sometimes it can make us feel that our own problems are not so bad. View all 5 comments. This story was a heartbreaking one that many can sympathize with but few will ever experience. I couldn't help but feeling that all of the women in this story made poor choices of life partners or baby daddies, starting with Cathy's father and passing down from Cathy to her two youngest daughters.
Cathy referred to her daughter Hayley, as a victim, which she certainly was, but when given the option to make choices that would mitigate her victimhood, she often took the more dangerous path, view spoiler [ first "glamour modeling" meaning nude or topless , prostituting herself at a "massage" parlor, meeting the love of her life and future killer there, ignoring all red flags from her family and friends, marrying this man, letting him prostitute the two of them, being cheated on, and strangled by him.
I don't know if any amount of time lapsing would change her outlook on Grabham, the media, or UK's penal system. Nevertheless, this was a bleak read. I think this story would have been better if a ghostwriter or true crime writer would have written in. The writing was simple and more background on Cathy's two daughters, Kirsty and Hayley, without Cathy's opinions and recollections would have made it better. May 27, julianne rated it really liked it Shelves: arc , true-crime , this-really-happened , contemporary , netgalley.
Bleak and haunting this is a sad tale of the aftermath of murder and the ripples it causes over the years. Cathy Broomfield should never have had to write this book, the death of her daughters was tragic. Jul 27, Julie Haigh rated it really liked it Shelves: reviewed-books , netgalley , memoir , true-crime. Well written emotional journey through a family's tragedy.
The bittersweet chapters that teach us through tears and struggles — Personal Chapters
A friend recommended this book to me. I hesitated to read it a little while as, as a mother myself, I 'didn't want to go there'. I just don't want to think about what it would be like to lose a child. I got a copy anyway and started to read Cathy Broomfield's heart wrenching story. The book turned out a bit different to how I was anticipating. On the cover is a picture of two very young girls, so I had thought that the girls had died at a Well written emotional journey through a family's tragedy.
On the cover is a picture of two very young girls, so I had thought that the girls had died at a very young age. Kirsty is grown-up at the beginning of the book and telling her mum that she's going to get married. Cathy Broomfield then tells us of the girls' earlier years, about happier times, of fond memories before everything happened. Also mentioned are events from the times, things in the news, on TV at the time etc. This was written very simply and concisely and I was soon glued to Cathy's story. I was intrigued about who could be responsible for the murder.
I was soon gripped by the case. This was a very interesting read as I hadn't heard of this case in the news or seen it on TV-I can't recall it anyway, so it was all new to me. I certainly didn't know what was going to happen next. This is a terribly tragic story-and for someone to lose a second daughter as well-well, it's just unimaginable. This was well-written and well put-together. I am hoping that pouring out her story and her feelings in this way will be cathartic.
I'm sure it will help other parents who have gone through similar circumstances too. An emotional and moving book. An absolute tragedy. A double tragedy. May 31, Mary Thomas rated it it was amazing Shelves: netgalley. Thanks to Netgalley for my copy. This is a gut wrenching brutally honest account of a family torn apart by the murder of one daughter and the death of a second one. Cathy Broomfield is a brave loving mother and I have the utmost respect for her and her family.
This is a story that has to be told but should never actually have to be told. Jun 19, Emris Lindsay rated it it was amazing. Your hurt is evident and I realized this is a form of therapeutic healing so I pray you were successful, no matter, your story is a tearjerker for sure. A heart-wrenching tale of life's trials and tribulations but it also shows the author has a strong will to heal and survive it all, thanks for sharing your tale with us readers, it was indeed a heartfelt and hurtful one, sorry you lost your treasures.
A sad but interesting tale. Jun 20, Emi Bevacqua rated it it was ok Shelves: euro , non-fiction. My heart breaks for the Broomfield family. Author and mom Cathy anchors her memories throughout this book with the family's various broken relationships and favorite television shows like X-Factor, Shameless, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Big Brother, etc.
The trappings of mass-produced popular culture are rife throughout the book: from junk food, tattoos, glamour meaning nude or topless modeling, a pink limousine to a pink coffin. It is clear that these women have limited resources and My heart breaks for the Broomfield family. It is clear that these women have limited resources and opportunities; third daughter Kirsty's role model is Jordan aka Katie Price, and second daughter Hayley's is presumably Kirsty.
Throughout the book Cathy watches first one daughter and then the next as their lives unravel before her eyes, she worries when they both make terrible life choices but asks helplessly, "but what could we do? Cathy's helplessness leads her to lash out against medical technicians and the coroner, she considers the press an enemy of the family, and "seriously begins to wonder if the family was cursed; ever since we lost Kirsty it seemed we'd had nothing but bad luck" It is completely understandable that she should blame everything on Kirsty's violent murderer, Paul Grabham; but it is even more horrifying to look at the ills of a society at large where girls are so distracted by the base and tawdry, they are brutally victimized, and fall prey to substance abuse or prostitution.
View all 3 comments. A quick read on how the murder of a daughter affects the whole family. I just wish there was more background on the daughters. I had a hard time connecting with the family because I felt I needed to know more. The book was also based in another country so I did not grasp all of the details as I am unfamiliar with things in the UK. My heart goes out to this family. Jun 21, Linda Menton rated it it was amazing. Heartbreaking Loved this book. Cathy has spoke from the heart and been open and honest in recognising her daughters troubles.
She seems like a lovely caring person who has been dealt a cruel hand. God bless her and her family. Jun 01, Reilly Cook rated it really liked it. This story was a harrowing tale that had to be told. This true story seems like one of the hardest for a grieving mother to have to write, but in honor of her lost daughters' memories, it was evident why she had to write it.
Even with a happy familial upbringing and the support system of many, it is the tragedy of life that women suffer from abuse daily and often don't know how to escape from it. Kirsty may be gone from the earth, but her story is one of a beautiful, strong woman with dreams, lo This story was a harrowing tale that had to be told. Kirsty may be gone from the earth, but her story is one of a beautiful, strong woman with dreams, love, and forgiveness. Lina Penna Sattamini wrote her memoir as a protest against historical amnesia. It conveys the experiences of a family united by love and determination during years of political repression.
Maier, Bulletin of Latin American Research.
A Memoir of Politics, Prison, and Torture under the Brazilian Military Dictatorship
The book describes the mobilization of a family in their desperate attempt to find Marcos Arruda, a young student who was imprisoned by the military police in In the process of describing how she and her mother managed to free Marcos Arruda, Lina Sattamini unearthed important evidence of the abuses of the institutional pawns of the dictatorial government.
This impressive book is must reading. Huggins, Tulane University. Arbitrarily imprisoned, brutally tortured, and subsequently whisked abroad to safety, Marcos P. Arruda would then face years of difficult rehabilitation. His is the tale of many a political prisoner; but, fortunate to escape with his life, he has ever since borne witness against the oppression, corruption, and brutality of authoritarian regimes, their supporters, and their protectors the world over.
Lina Penna Sattamini, a former freelance interpreter with the U.
State Department, lives in Rio de Janeiro. Bk Cover Image Full. Sign In. Search Cart. Search for:. Book Pages: Illustrations: frontispiece Published: June Green Translator: Rex P. Nielson Contributor: Marcos P. In May , Marcos P. State Department when her son was captured. After learning of his arrest, she and her family mobilized every resource and contact to discover where he was being held, and then they launched an equally intense effort to have him released.
Marcos was freed from prison in