Lori McDermott, who co-authored this book with her husband, Brian, sent me a copy in July. I’m squeezed for time, but felt it’s an important book about afterlife communication and coping with tragic loss, so I asked mathaddict to read it and write a review. She loved it. Here’s why:
Learning to Dance in the Rain, by Lori and Brian McDermott, came to me as an unexpected and welcome surprise.
Anyone who is a parent with older teenage and young adult children who have spread their wings and have begun to flee the nest, understand the innate concerns that accompany their children’s ‘coming of age’. We continue to carry the parental concerns, all the while understanding that we must allow them to go; allow them to fly, without clipping their wings and restricting their flights.
And there is, always, the hope that our children will be safe and happy and will chase their own dreams to fruition. We pray that life will treat them kindly and that their falls, their scrapes and bruises, will be few and far between because Mom and Dad are no longer close-by to kiss the hurt away.
When a knock comes at the door in the middle of the night, I believe we instinctively know, before we open the door, that whoever is standing outside isn’t bringing good news. And that is how it began for Lori and Brian: that knock on the front door in the middle of the night. Their beloved, precocious daughter Maia, barely 21 years old, had been killed in an automobile accident.
I was pulled into their lives as I read the preface, before I had even turned to the first chapter. As I continued to turn the pages, I felt as though I was there with them, and that they were here with me. The story of Lori’s and Brian’s moment-by-moment journey through the valley of the shadow of Maia’s transition into the realm of The Other Side reached out to me and wrapped me up in a cocoon of their emotions; of their memories of their daughter; of their struggle to cope with her physical demise, and of the staggering awareness that they would never see her physical presence again in this life.
Theirs is a story that doesn’t censor its devastating tears or its magnificent joys. I didn’t weep until I reached the epilogue, and at that point, my own tears joined theirs in a river of hope; of appreciation for the years shared with Maia: and most of all, of unconditional love for a child and for all that her physical death and on-going spiritual presence taught them and continues to teach them. Maia bequeathed a legacy of her personality; of music and poetry and sparkling, occasionally acerbic, wit.
I didn’t find the book to be depressing. It is filled with uplifting synchronicity after synchronicity; with the undeniable Essence of Maia, who manages to find both subtle and screaming ways of letting her family and friends know she is HERE with them; that she is well and happy; that she hasn’t left and doesn’t leave them.
Lori and Brian use every modality available to them to learn to cope with the loss of Maia’s physical presence. They they take each step of their healing with tears of joy and tears of sorrow, because the two cannot be separated.
The loss of one’s child is, for me, an unthinkable circumstance. For me, there would be no greater challenge and I cannot even begin to imagine such tragedy, or how I would cope with it.
But Maia’s mantra was, and is, “SEIZE THE DAY”. One of her favorite sayings was, “When it storms, learn to dance in the rain!” And that is what her family and friends are doing, and what they are sharing in this book. Each of them is Seizing The Day, and Learning To Dance In The Rain.
I felt embraced and warmed by the messages in Maia’s story, and in the journey her family and friends are taking in the wake of her whirlwind life. She is gone too soon, yet isn’t gone at all.
Read the book. Have a box of tissues handy, but your tears will be tears of joy as well as of pain and empathy, and learn to Seize The Day and Dance In The Rain. It lessened my burdens and left me feeling as if this big bad world is a much better place because Maia spent a little bit of time here.