Maureen Callahan Smith
Grace Street: A Sister’s Memoir of Grief & Gratitude
From Grace Street:
“Things that look like walls can turn out to be windows that we fly through because we must, becoming on the way, a different person. . . . Heartbroken as I was, I felt a deep and completely unanticipated knowing that accompanying Kathy in whatever way I had was something my life had been meant for. And I could recognize, lucky me.”
When a diagnosis of cancer upends her sister’s life, author Maureen Callahan Smith and her family find themselves having to map the way forward through the unknown. In the end, it’s a path they seem to know by heart.
From the first out-of-the-blue diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma to her valiant and tender end, Kathy is accompanied by her sister Maureen through it all.
A story of two sisters at midlife, interwoven with humor and fierce family loyalty as they navigate life and enjoy the markers: a son’s prom night, a beautiful wedding, a family beach day. Smith describes with heartfelt candor the big and small moments that make up a life, in hospital corridors and around the family dinner table, juxtaposing the realities of illness and medical care with family ties and love.
The story shows us that the effort to keep our hearts open, even while facing the worst, can yield an experience of love and depth of connection that is life at its most meaningful.
Smith draws on her experience as a clinical social worker and her background in meditation and other spiritual traditions to find insight and solace in difficult moments. Somehow, facing the hardest thing she’s ever faced opens her to the deepest gratitude and appreciation of life, with all of its beauty and pain.
“Maureen Callahan Smith writes with courage and honesty about the heart-breaking journey she walked with her sister Kathy through her sister’s cancer and ultimate deate. This memoir is of inestimable value for family, community, and caregivers.“
— Paula D’Arcy, author of Stars at Night and Winter of the Heart
“This jewel of a book will touch you, and it will change you. It reveals the gift that is available to all of us in our deepest loves and losses.”
— Sue Cross, founder of Living the Possible