Saturday, October 26, 2013

Book Launch Party

The launch party for The Fifth Season was great fun. My only regret of the evening is that I was so engaged in conversations that I didn't get a chance to really listen to the live music by my favorite local singer, Marj Snyder Hegeman. 

Marj's songs complement the content of the book, and she included lots of spirituals and folk songs expressing a sense of longing for release from a season of suffering. Although I wasn't able to listen attentively to Marj the night of the launch, I know what she sang because two weeks ago we sat together over coffee and Marj went through her set list with me, singing a line or two from each song, low and sweet under the ambient noise of the coffeehouse, while I felt my heart grow more and more full. Marj's voice is wonderfully earthy and somehow honest. She offers her heart in every note. 

My best friend of thirty years catered a gorgeous (and delicious) spread for the launch party. Laurie unexpectedly lost her eldest brother less than a year ago, just months after Laurie moved in with her mother in anticipation of becoming a caregiver as the years go on. Hardship surrounds my dear friend on all sides, and yet she reaches out to embrace those around her as one who knows the deepest suffering and who is not afraid of what lies ahead.

In fact, all my guests carried suffering under their smiles and laughter. A friend whose husband is going through cancer treatment handed me a gorgeous orchid to brighten my signing table. Another friend, betrayed by her husband and now trudging the path through divorce and single parenting, offered a hug and sincere congratulations. We are learning together how to embrace all of life—including death—and how to best rejoice in the good and do battle with injustice and bear up under the suffering that permeates this bruised and broken yet beautiful world. 

What a privilege it was to gather with my community last Saturday night, to celebrate together the publication of a book that chronicles the most difficult seasons of decline and end-of-life decisions. In every season there is pain and there is delight. Among friends, sorrow and joy clasp hands, and together we hold one another steady. 


  1. Lisa,
    My daughter Heather Greene just sent me your 5th Season. I go to my mother in laws assisted living twice a day and bring her the food prepared by the place. It is an upscale place and we can afford to have her there if we do this. We moved her here from Texas almost a year ago. My husband is a PCA pastor in Bellevue, Washington. I was reading your book when Ruth called this morning. My response to her was so much better because I had been reading your book. She decided not to cancel her hair appointment after all. I encouraged her. You encouraged me. Perhaps I too will write a book someday. :)

  2. Cindy, I'm so glad you stopped by the blog and left a comment (and I'm glad Heather introduced us via the book)! Quite honestly, I find myself surprised that reading about my frank irritation and lack of patience with my mother-in-law gave you more patience with yours! :) But I'm glad. I drafted this book to think things through as they were happening, but I completed it as a way of extending fellowship and an honest voice to others.

    Last week's review of The Fifth Season at the New York Times "New Old Age" blog discussed the need for these narratives as a means of speaking out.

    Read the review and the comments and you'll understand why writing about your journey can be so valuable. Then write your heart out, Cindy!