Previously available only in hardcover, Swimming with Maya demonstrates the remarkable process of healing after the traumatic death of a loved one. Eleanor Vincent raised her two daughters, Maya and Meghan, virtually as a single-parent. Maya, the eldest, was a high-spirited and gifted young woman. As a toddler, Maya was an angelic tow-head, full of life and curiosity. As a teenager, Maya was energetic and independent – and often butted heads with her mother. But Eleanor and Maya were always close and connected, like best friends or sisters, but always also mother and daughter.
Then at age 19, Maya mounts a horse bareback as a dare and, in a crushing cantilever fall, is left in a coma from which she will never recover. Eleanor’s life is turned upside down as she struggles to make the painful decision about Maya’s fate.
Ultimately Eleanor chooses to donate Maya’s organs. Years later, she is able to hear Maya’s heart beat in the chest of the heart recipient. Along the way, Eleanor re-examines her relationship with her daughter, as well as Eleanor’s traumatic life as a child and young woman. In a story that has been called “heartbreaking and heart-healing,” Eleanor Vincent illuminates the kind of courage, creativity, faith, and sheer tenacity it takes to find one’s balance after unthinkable tragedy.
Praise for Swimming with Maya:
“Vincent’s poignant decision to donate Maya’s organs will resonate with even hard-boiled readers.” Booklist
“Powerful prose with a meaningful and memorable message.” Lee Gutkind, Founder, Creative Nonfiction Magazine
“An important addition to the literature of loss and restoration.” Maxine Kumin, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and author of Inside the Halo and Beyond: The Anatomy of a Recovery
“Heartbreaking and heart healing, this compelling story of surviving the death of a child will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.” Ellen Bass, author of The Courage to Heal and The Human Line
“Every reader who has had to deal with traumatic loss will ﬁnd wisdom and healing in these brave pages.” Chana Bloch, author of Mrs. Dumpty and Blood Honey
“Riveting, poignant, and utterly honest… It shows that one can recover from the loss of a child.” Judy Tatelbaum, author of The Courage to Grieve and You Don’t Have to Suffer
“Eleanor Vincent chronicles her grief and the healing that came with helping others.” Carol Lin, CNN
“Blows the reader away with its clarity, its unstinting honesty, and the searing accuracy of its vision of the medical and emotional complexity surrounding the tragic death of a young woman. Highly recommended.” John Ruark, MD, FACP, author of Dying Digniﬁed
“Thoughtful, honest and beautifully written… a fabulous story about what it means to be a mother.” Wendy Lichtman, author of Blew and the Death of the Mag and Secrets, Lies and Algebra
“Life trumps death in this beautiful memoir.” Linda Joy Myers, author of Don’t Call Me Mother–A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness and Power of Memoir