Debut author, Joyce A. Harvey introduces us to her memoir about the loss of her daughter, “Swan Lessons”:
Swan Lessons: A Bereaved Mother’s Story of Courage and Discovery by Joyce A. Harvey is an account of military harassment, a series of poor decisions, and the desperate suicide of a young Lance Corporal. It describes the daunting challenge of a bereaved mother attempting to proceed with a public career in the midst of profound grief. It is also an amazing story of ongoing communication with the spirit of her daughter Jennifer, through dreams, signs, and spiritual mediums, including George Anderson. The author tackles tough subjects such as whether to pursue a wrongful death suit with the military. She also takes on clichés that are typically said to the grief-stricken and helps readers understand why they are better left unsaid. She shares dreams where she was “warned” that she might lose Jennifer and dreams in which Jennifer “visits” following her death. Ms. Harvey tells readers early in the book about her association of Jennifer’s death with the song “Vincent,” which refers to Vincent van Gogh’s suicide. Could the seemingly “coincidental” appearances of the song and references to Van Gogh be vehicles Jennifer uses to communicate with her mother from the afterlife? There are individual books on grief, suicide, dream work, after-death communication, spirituality, and abuse of power in the military. However, the author hasn’t found any examples written by a bereaved parent that combine all of these subjects into one book, as Swan Lessons does, helping readers to put it all together. As the book winds its way through the canyons of grief, it offers glimpses of hope, moments of utter astonishment, and examples of courage. The author skillfully weaves journal entries, as well as letters to and from Jennifer, to tell the story of a mother-daughter bond even death cannot sever.
A powerful and well-written book!
Though she describes it quite well, I find it very hard to imagine the grief that Joyce experienced. Isn’t that one of a parent’s worst nightmares? We, as parents, expect to pass on before our children. It seems the ordinary order of events. I have no reservation, in my mind, her pain was far worse than what she described.
What she discovered after her daughter’s death is very fascinating. The communications from across the divide were extraordinary!
I appreciate that she shared the good and the bad support she received from different people. Her extended family really stepped up to the plate.
I award 4.9 stars to “Swan Lessons”.
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grief, bereavement, death, heaven, Catholic church, suicide, dreams, signs, workplace abuse, military, marines
Copyright © 2021 Mark L. Schultz except for the author’s introduction
Who am I?
An avid reader, typobuster, and the Hyper-Speller. I am a husband, father, and grandfather.
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