Here’s a book I wish I had written, collaborated on, or been the book shepherd or marketer for. It is beautifully produced and illustrated. It has a fine (perfect) title and an ideal cover (cover brighter than in the photo below), and, just the right amount of content. It combines my love of literature (sharing about what’s meaningful and poignant in life), and my devotion as an end-of-life guide, doula, and planner. It also reminds me of another subject dear to my heart – how I always miss my precious mother even though I’ve found ways to keep her by my side.
California-based mother-daughter duo Suzy Hopkins (former editor and reporter) and Hallie Bateman (illustrator) have written and designed an authentic, charming, sometimes humorous ode to mortality including memories we leave behind after we have made our physical departure.
The book is What to Do When I’m Gone – A Mother’s Wisdom to Her Daughter (Bloomsbury USA, April 2018)
I had the pleasure of meeting and engaging with the author mother and her illustrator daughter at Skylight Books in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles in May 2018. Every seat was filled for this public chat and book signing. Attendees paid close attention to the subject. The discussion also included the profound connections most mother and daughters have, and how such connections seem to endure for generations.
The concept for the book? Hallie shared how she suffered a nightmare about loosing her mother. Four years later, after much pleading, her mother was convinced to write how Hallie could survive without continuing earthly contact.
Mother Suzy shared it wasn’t easy to write the book. She was overcome with emotion and cried, often.
Some might wonder… how could the subject of anyone’s passing be positive?
One possible answer: The subject contributes to the growing national and worldwide dialogue (at palliative care centers, hospitals, hospices, Death Cafes – see http://www.deathcafe.com – and more) about making friends with eventual death, asking ourselves what we wish to do before our demise. The book is suggesting… let’s talk about it.
When you read the endearing prose with instructions, and savor the sentimental graphics, you’ll get the picture, literally and subliminally. There is also a fair amount of humor as you can (barely) see in my photo shot of the cemetery below where the tombstone reads “I love the idea of people talking about me after I’m gone.”
We will all make our transitions one day. If we are mindful, we can assist by being good models for our children, godchildren, siblings, adopted families, friends, and other loved ones.
I recommend this book. As the back cover suggests, “it is a guide to daily living, both practical and sublime!!”