What a wonderful weekend we had! As it winds down this Sunday evening, I am relaxing and reflecting on it all.
It started early on Friday with a late afternoon trip to Conneaut for “THE BEST BOOK CLUB EVER.”
“Oh Rob,” as I affectionately like to refer to our gracious co-host (who happens to be our cousin and one of our BFFs, along with his amazing wife and one of my personal heroes, Joyce) has begun a blog of his own, which I encourage you to read: Reflections. Rob has such an endearing and though-provoking reflective perspective on life that you just can’t help but smile to think about him.
I daresay… even if you don’t like to read, you might just do it to be part of this amazing group! (As Joyce and Rob can attest as they have evolved into making room in their home for 30 or more people at times.)
It is a diverse and fascinating group of women AND men of all ages, backgrounds, professions and political views that comes together every couple months to drink a little wine, nosh on yummy treats (like these amazing flat bread, goat cheese, fresh fig and balsamic vinaigrette appetizers provided by the Vacavi Café where we met this month), and talk about the book we read, share how it affected us, explain what it meant to us, and explore our diverse experiences.
This month’s book was chosen by our friend Laurie because it was written and self-published by a somewhat local author, Lenore Skomal, who was willing to come to our BEST BOOK CLUB EVER meeting and talk to us about her book.
And WOW – I might have to say this was the BEST Book Club of the BEST BOOK CLUB EVER!
As you may have guessed since I have begun this blog and since my profession is in Corporate Communications, I have a bit of an affinity for writing.
The topic of this book was also something that hit close to home on so many levels for me.
So the opportunity to get to meet the author, and to have her be such an amazing, engaging, REAL woman, was a surprising treat.
Heck – she is the one that officially named us “THE BEST BOOK CLUB EVER,” and even rode across the lake in Ed and Laurie’s boat with us to Rob and Joyce’s place for a night cap and continued intimate discussion.
So the book – “Bluff” by Lenore Skomal -was born out of the author’s real-life experience with her mother’s end days’ experience of comatase in the hospital where physicians and staff spoke about her mom in her mom’s presence as if she weren’t there and couldn’t hear. It made Lenore uncomfortable wondering how much her Mom could hear and comprehend and how it made her feel.
I was thoroughly intrigued, albeit at first taken aback, by Skomal’s representation of the book’s central character’s imprisonment in that “in-between” space teetering on death yet clinging to life in order to save the life of her unborn child – a choice made by the Catholic hospital staff where she is kept alive by medical intervention. It was startling when I first heard Jude speak and hear what she had to say. I will never look at or think of a person in a coma the same way and will be that much more reverent in their presence.
Bluff is quite a page-turner as each character develops and shockingly unfolds and reveals their own secrets, deceptions, and relation to the central theme. The end will shock and startle you. It will answer some questions, but raise that many more. At first, it really threw me and made me think it was too much of a diversion from the original central theme, until we discussed it as a group and with the author, and I looked at the entire scope of subjects more globally – the secrets, the deceptions, the “bluffs.” (And then to learn Part 2 is in progress where these characters continue to develop is exciting!)
Bluff was a perfect book club selection for those willing to discuss, debate, and truly delve into the most intriguing questions that plague us about the value of human life, life support, organ donation, and the ongoing debate and questions (even within the medical community) surrounding the consciousness of those in a coma.
It truly took Marty and I back to several years ago when we had the privilege of being with and loving Marty’s dear sister, Maureen, across the divide of this life to the next (or whatever we believe to be beyond this life) as we held her hands, whispered “I love you’s” and played soft soothing music. You see, the hospice nurses caring for Maureen to told us they believed the last sense to go is that of hearing, so we made sure that with every last breath she took, Maureen heard our love.
As a “writer wannabe,” I was fascinated to speak with Lenore and learn about what it takes, the research involved in authenticating content, but most of all what drives us to want to write, how it affects us, and how it impacts those that read it.
I am grateful for the experience, recommend the book, and hope I have a new friend in Lenore Skomal.
And how ironic is it that the topic of this book is about … Life in Between…
Cheers and Hugs,