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Hannah's Gift: Lessons from a Life Fully Lived Paperback – July 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

Hannah's Gift addresses a mother's deepest fear: the death of a child. Amazingly, Maria Housden's skillful writing and mature understanding of grief make this a spiritually inspiring story about life. Housden is eager for us to learn all the lessons Hannah offered while she was dying of cancer, such as wearing red shoes that click and sparkle when you walk and never letting a doctor touch you without knowing their first name. For the reader, however, the most compelling character is Housden, a mother who endures the unfathomable. One morning Housden looks at her face in the mirror and realizes, "The grief that once threatened to swallow me up had found a home in my bones. My suffering wasn't something I was going to have to let go of; it became part of what I had to offer, part of who I am." Sure, you're going to cry. But it's the kind of heart-cracking-open cry that comes from an abundance of feelings: sorrow for this wise and gut-honest narrator; tenderness for Will, the loyal older brother that Hannah left behind; and love for this baffling, wonderful life that gives us gifts like Hannah. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In Hannah's Gift: Lessons from a Life Fully Lived, Maria Housden delivers a lyrical, heartbreaking and heartwarming account of her three-year-old daughter's illness and death. Among the values she learns from her extraordinary child's experience are joy, a Buddha-like stillness, candor and openness. When Hannah's seven-year-old brother asks the author questions about death, Hannah is fascinated and declares that she wants to be a butterfly when her body dies. When their church has a special service to honor and pray for Hannah, she's delighted. Housden, too, offers readers a gift, particularly those seeking to help a loved one through the process of dying and themselves through the grieving process.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553381229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553381221
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Janet I. Buck on April 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Hannah's Gift belongs right alongside Michael J. Fox's Lucky Man on every bookshelf in the world. Nearly everyone will brush up against cancer at some point in their lives, but most of us are totally unequipped in terms of squeezing the very last drops from an ebbing life. Hannah's Gift does just that. Maria Housden addresses grief without sugarcoating its fabric and its entity. In a hospital scene, she captures the crunch of fear with a poet's quill: "There was no room in that tiny space for anything but two chairs and the truth." Housden also captures the joy, the impulsiveness, the treasure and lesson of a life that teaches us how to address the rest of ours. Hannah's red shoes, the symbol of her rich vision and carefree embracement of a moment, enrich the canvas of ours. I have loaned out this book so often that the binding is broken -- but I firmly believe it is a story that must be shared. Housden is self-effacing in her treatment of her own poignant courage, but you will see it there between the lines you absolutely can't forget.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Carroll-Shannon on March 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It says that I have the opportunity to be the first one to review your book through Who would have known that the spiritual connection between myself and the author, Maria (Martell) Housdan would guide me to this place to review a book that is so real and so utterly uncannilly true, because I was there, not in the forefront,but as one of Will's teachers who couldn't help to try and be totally present in the life of this family; mother Maria, son Will and daughter Hannah..Sweet Hannah in her red sparkling shoes. For all of you readers out there, as you read this book, you will find that not only is Maria Housden an incredible, inspiring and motivated author, but the story she tells is so painstakingly true, that for all of us mother's, or anyone else that has the priveledge to read this book and find yourselves "living" the story, I am almost speechless to the powerfulness of this truth as to what it might feel like to lose a child, a very old soul like that of Hannah, in the "earthly" realm of existence we call LIFE, and yet go on living and learning and transforming through the stages of grieving. The teachings that this story offers are done so in such a brave and honest way, that it gives me and I hope all of you who read "Hannah's Gift"; deeper clarity about "living joyfully in the present" and establishing a place in our lives where EGO does not rule. Where there is divine spiritual connection, one can find inner peace and harmony despite the challanges put forth to us in daily living! My tears did flow while reading this book,and although I am a very sensitive person, I think that anyone who reads Maria's book will be touched and possibly changed forever..Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts to all of you, especially to you my friends, Maria, Will and Hannah! I miss you all so much, please write me. Congradulations on another step in your journey!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M Lib on July 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
One wonders if there has been an increase in the sale of red all sizes...following the publication of this book...? Red shoes exemplify Hannah's zest for life. As adults, Hannah's story reawakens our own desire for zestful living, our own need for "red shoes."
Even though my son Jim died at the age of 23 rather than 3, Hannah's joyous spirit reminded me very much of my son as well as of the many children whose parents I've been honored to meet (following the death of their children).
Maria Housden's gentle prose distinguishes this book from many books written by bereaved parents. Hannah's life, rather than her family's grief, is the primary focus of the book. Hannah taught her family great lessons on "how to live life more fully." Hannah's legacy continues as readers learn much about life, death, and grief through Hannah's example.
This book should be on the bookshelves of bereaved parents, nurses, physicians, and all caregivers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Erin on December 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was moved and inspired by the lessons and truths in this book. One of the lovelist aspects of Hannah's Gift is the way the author shares her story; simply and with such humanity that the messages really reach out and touch you.
A friend of mine says that although having a massage when she hurts is painful it is a 'grateful pain' because she knows it is helping her heal. Hannah's Gift hurt to read but it was a 'grateful pain'.
Maria Housden shares with you her lessons of Truth, Joy, Faith, Compassion and Wonder and illustrates them with intimate recollections of Hannah's last year and the path she travelled in coming to terms with her grief. I felt I was very much carried along on her journey. I was amazed at how the narrative had me crying from the bottom of my heart. There are also moments of touching tenderness and happiness which touched me just as deeply.
I think that Hannah's Gift is much more than just a book for those struggling with grief, it is an inspiration for those seeking to "live all the days of their life".
I bought this book a few days ago and have read it three times since. I have now given it to my Mum and bought another copy for a friend whose father recently died. I highly recommend Hannah's Gift.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amanda B. Uhry on May 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beginning with John Gunther's DEATH BE NOT PROUD, there have been many poignant and touching books written, tragically, by parents who have lost beloved children. Hannah's Gift is different than all becuse it is the story of a very young girl who died at the age of four of cancer, but whose lasting legacy was to change the lives of all who loved her -- and, at the same time, live the end of her much too short life with dignity, grace and joy. It is also beautifully written in very surprising ways that come right off the page and grab a reader who will never forget many of the moments of this amazing book. I am the mother of a seven year old girl, and for me, one of the most astonishing moments in any book I have ever read comes near the end of Hannah's Gift. At Hannah's burial, her mother writes that the family decided to bury Hannah instead of cremate her because "I wanted to be able to come to her grave and know that the little hands I held and the form I had loved were there." Need I say more? The book is a must read for...everyone.
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