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So Far Away: A Daughter's Memoir of Life, Loss, and Love Paperback – November 18, 2011
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"This is a powerful book"
"Real and engaging while unique and provocative, So Far Away is an absorbing memoir with touching moments and challenging moral choices to consider."
"So Far Away is a powerful memoir of two very different end-of-life journeys that will speak to everyone who has been parented, and who has considered their personal wishes and hopes for their final years."
"Hartmann demonstrates considerable courage in sharing her story with the world and her book is a gift to families dealing with the daily challenges of caregiving for their elderly loved ones."
--Journal of Women and Aging
"For me, part of the brilliance of So Far Away is that, wrapped up in the exquisitely well-described uniqueness of Hartmann's story about her parents and herself, are substantial insights about anticipatory grief, grief following a parent's death or decline, parent-child relationships at the end of life and after parents die, the links of personal grief to marital relationships, what can be accomplished by writing about parents and parent death, depression, and much more. And although the book is only about one family from one family member's perspective, it offers fascinating insights about families in many areas, including lies and secrets in families, family communication, and what might be called 'relationship traps.' Another part of the brilliance of the book is that the author tunes in so well on her own thoughts and feelings, that it becomes a stimulating book about the psychology of fear, guilt, anger, love, duty, neediness, independence, memory, and obliviousness."
--Paul C. Rosenblatt, University of Minnesota, author of four books on families and grief
"An emotionally powerful memoir that beautifully captures the life-changing journeys of her parents' final years."
--Booth Gardner, former governor, State of Washington, and a leader in the Death with Dignity movement
From the Inside Flap
Top Customer Reviews
SO FAR AWAY has had me crying - no, sobbing - inconsolably for the past two days as I read it. I am drained and exhausted and utterly relieved that I am no longer alone in my journey of grief. That there is a way through this loss; there is even life at the end of this seemingly endless road that has drained all my energy, my enthusiasm and my optimism, turning me ever more isolationist and remote from real life.
What makes this book special is that Dr Hartmann's life, losses and love are mine too. Reading Hartmann's story allowed me to cry for her that which I cannot yet cry for myself: the loss of my hero, my "pardner," my beloved Dad.
I could cry, too, for the fading of that strong light that was the hallmark of my courageous Mom, her joie de vivre overshadowed now by the endless day-to-day caring of the physical body that houses the lost soul of her husband and my father.
Hartmann's compassionate, endless caring, the relentless journey to understand both herself and her parent's emotional wounds fill this memoir and made me realise that I too carry a deep private grief and double loss inside me.
She reminds me what I had forgotten: that this cycle of life, too, can be a path of mutual love and respect between special parents and a daughter they had, despite their own wounds and private griefs, always surrounded in love and support.
The subtitle of this book is that it's a "memoir about life, loss and love.Read more ›
Christine Hartmann is a strong woman. I don't know that I could have done what she did. She builds the story over a period of about ten years, but the psychological impact her mother had on her lasted longer than that. Can you imagine? Living with the knowledge that your mother plans to die by suicide? I can't.
This book inspired a good, heartfelt talk between me and my parents which essentially started with, "Look, I know you don't want to lose your dignity as you get older, but I'm here to help you as you age. I like you around, and I don't want to lose you before your time." And that was something that needed to be said. I know I would not have the strength to hug my mother, who is perfectly healthy, and walk away with the knowledge that I won't see her again.
I really struggled with Christine Hartmann's decisions throughout the book, and I was glad to see that, toward the end, these decisions are finally challenged in a way that they needed to be. I wont' give more information then that, but I do feel that it's vital to know that there is a reason to keep reading - even though the subject matter seems to drag you down deeper and deeper into this horrible muck.
I admire Hartmann as well - for putting this story down on paper. I hope it helps to heal her, and I hope the bad memories fade over time until all she can remember are the good ones.
The fact that the author is willing to share her story to help others deal with grief and loss is a measure of her great compassion for others, something all too rare these days. This is truly a book of the heart. This book is a must read for every therapist and grief counselor. It is a genuine way forward for all those who suffer the insufferable.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very poignant memoir about navigating emotional mine fields filled with family baggage when a parent wants to exit this world on their own terms.Published 14 months ago by TrailsGuy
Christine Hartmann's memoir turns an unpleasant topic into a moving memoir. In our society we do not talk much about our parents' passing. Read morePublished on April 18, 2012 by Amazon Customer
One would expect that a memoir focusing on death--the planned, forewarned and eventual suicide of the author's mother and the more conventional but still difficult death of her... Read morePublished on March 31, 2012 by kawin wilairat
I will not reiterate the subject matter here, as others have done a fine job. I will just say that Dr. Read morePublished on February 28, 2012 by Jane
From the beginning of this poignant, highly detailed memoir, the reader is told that both the writer's mother and father play a critical role in her life, despite them having... Read morePublished on January 6, 2012 by Amazon Customer
Christine Hartmann has drawn a powerful portrait of a family bound together
by love and by the knowledge of a future act that promises to shatter the family
unit. Read more
Christine Hartmann's mother. Irmgard, tells her that she plans on committing suicide when she turns seventy. Read more
So Far Away is a memoir by Christine W. Hartmann in which she takes us into a very personal time in her life and the effects that it had on her. Read morePublished on December 15, 2011 by Darlene @ Peeking Between the Pages