Tag Archives: grief and loss

Book Review: Missing Nimama – by Melanie Florence

missing-nimama
Book: Missing Nimâmâ
Author: Melanie Florence
Illustrator: François Thisdale
Publisher: Clockwise Press
Date: October 16, 2015
Genre: picture book; ages 8 & up, gr 3 & up
Pages: 32
Price: $19.95
My rating: Sensitively told story bringing awareness of 
a tragic reality

This book has been written with heart. Missing Nimâmâ by Melanie Florence is a sensitive and beautiful story about a young indigenous girl whose mother went missing. Although her child cannot see her, the mother is always present in spirit, watching as her nimâmâ (Cree for mother) brings up her daughter in her place. The story is told from the voice of the child, often in conversation with her nôhkom (grandmother), and then her mother’s viewpoint – back and forth. That style of writing creates a tenderness and wistfulness that is both touching and enlightening. The illustrations created by award-winning illustrator François Thisdale are soft and realistic, adding dimension and texture to the story.

I think I first learned of this picture book, Missing Nimâmâ, when I heard the author being interviewed on CBC radio. It came up at another time, too, and I knew I had to read it. It gripped me. The topic it addresses is a horrible and shameful one – the disappearance of many indigenous women in Canada, and also in the US. It is alarming the large number – hundreds – of missing, and believed to be murdered, aboriginal girls and women in North America. Far too many are unsolved cases that should never have happened and many could have been prevented, or not ended as tragically had there been timely attention given.

After reading all of that you may wonder, how is this a children’s book? The author, Melanie Florence, has masterfully written a sweet story that is very suitable for children. She introduces the reader to a few of the traditions of a Cree family, and inserts some Cree words, making it interesting on more than one level. The child’s grandmother speaks of her own daughter as being “one of the lost women”, and helps the little girl remember her nimâmâ fondly throughout her growing-up years. The ending brings it to a satisfactory conclusion, and yet, it does not end. It’s quite sad when the reality of it hits you, and yet it’s so compassionately told that you want every child to be given the chance to understand.

Missing Nimâmâ, written by Melanie Florence and illustrated by François Thisdale, won the 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, was selected for an honorable mention as an OLA Best Bets 2016 Honour Book, and is a 2017 Forest of Reading Golden Oak Award finalist. It’s a very deserving book.

You can find Missing Nimâmâ on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

SPECIAL NOTE: Melanie has agreed to an interview! Come back Thursday, April 27, to enjoy the interview and leave a comment for a giveaway – a copy of Missing Nimâmâ – courtesy of Clockwise Press.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

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Another sad good-bye

It has been a stressful, sad time of late. 

My dearly loved father-in-law passed peacefully from this life in the wee hours of June 10 with many of us, his family, near. It was a special, quiet, reverent time, although very difficult until his pain could be brought to a manageable level again. Breakthrough cancer pain is horrible. The minister came to pray with him and us, which brought assurance to his soul, and a last broad smile to his face.

Preparations have been completed … the service and reception scheduled for Sunday afternoon, June 14.

I will miss my father-in-law tremendously. He was a constant in my life for 39 years, and has been a wonderful role model for my husband and children. (My beloved looks so much like his dad and is very similar to him – and that’s a good thing.)

Now you know why I have not posted much lately. My energy and focus have been mostly elsewhere. I will get back to some sort of posting schedule as soon as I can.

Thank you for understanding.

Please check out the following information. We had known about asbestosis but had never heard of mesothelioma until my dad-in-law’s diagnosis. It is, and will be, affecting far more people than even, as yet, realize it exists – until it surfaces.

http://www.medicinenet.com/mesothelioma/article.htm

http://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Adventures in Mother-Sitting – by Doreen Cox

Adventures in Mother-Sitting by Doreen CoxBook: Adventures in Mother Sitting
Author: Doreen Cox
Publisher: Olmstead Publishing
Date: January 1, 2010
Genre: Memoir (adult reading)
Pages: 266
Price: $18.00; Kindle under $6.00
My Rating:  A good book for anyone caring for a loved one with dementia

* from the book blurb: ADVENTURES IN MOTHER-SITTING is a memoir that speaks to a journey through grief, through losses of many kinds.

I read this book with the intention of reviewing it, especially since I also am a caregiver of a loved one.

Adventures in Mother Sitting is a book written by the daughter of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease. Doreen Cox wrote from raw and real emotions and experiences. She took the reader through her journey, preserved in journals, in a way that draws the reader into her life, and into her home which she shared with her mother for whom she became a “care bear”.

Three things that stood out to me in a less positive way are:  1. I have never read anything where the author used quotation marks as freely as in this book.  2. It felt as if chapters 11 and 12 yanked me right out of the story and were not necessary.  3. Some repetition seemed unneeded as the reader can understand what was said and will likely remember most of it from before when encountering things that relate back.

Now, that out of the way, the great things about this book are the honesty with which the author wrote and her willingness to share it all. She told in great detail, some parts difficult to read because of the exposed reality of the disease, about how Alzheimer’s (dementia) steals from its victim. Not only are memories stolen, but the memory of how to do even the simplest things disappears. The brain is confused and damaged by the disease, affected in such a way so as to make it stop relaying the usual messages we all take for granted, such as how to eat, dress, carry on a conversation. There is so much to learn about Alzheimer’s, so much to understand in caring for someone afflicted. Doreen opens a window into seeing what it is like living with that horrible disease, and how acutely needed are love, compassion, patience, understanding.  She also bravely shared how it sometimes became too much for her when she was sleep deprived and exhausted, and how she coped – or failed to cope – with the demands on her.

Adventures in Mother Sitting is told with humour, love, and tenderness, but also with a sometimes shocking truth. It is raw, revealing, and perhaps awkward for some people to read, but it should be read anyway.

Two years ago I wrote a review of Still Alice  – a fiction novel about a woman who learned she had Alzheimer’s, and covers two years of her life as the disease gradually takes over her brain’s ability to function. It is a book highly recommended among caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, and during our Alzheimer Caregiver Support Group meeting this month I recommended Adventures in Mother Sitting by Doreen Cox.

If you are facing dementia in any way, particularly as a caregiver of someone so afflicted, I suggest you read this book. It will help you to understand more from the viewpoint of the caregiver, enabling you to see from the author’s experience how the disease changes a person’s abilities and mind to that of total dependence.

You can find Adventures in Mother Sitting listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂