Robin Botie - Finding Life After Loss

Robin Botie - Finding Life After Loss


In DUETS WITH A DEAD DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR OF HOLDING LIFE TOGETHER, when I travel alone and terrified to Australia to scatter my daughter’s ashes, I believe I will return home to begin a new life without her. But Marika’s fearlessness, her poems and last words, “Mom, get a life,” are daring me to consider, whose life am I holding onto?

Two journeys are interwoven in this 200-page / 63,000-word memoir: the journey through the wilds of cancer holding onto my headstrong eighteen-year-old daughter Marika who was fighting for personal independence while fighting for her life, and the trip to Australia after her death, retracing Marika’s steps taken during a time of remission, from Sydney to Melbourne to the shipwrecked coasts of the Great Ocean Road. A single mother with imperfect parenting skills, I was immobilized and unemployed in the midst of my daughter’s battle with leukemia. I went through a second coming-of-age when the life I knew was catapulted out the window. After her death, as I discover in her writings the daughter I didn’t know in the day-to-day, I begin to grow into my own life. The two journeys form a kind of duet, enhanced by Marika’s original songs and poems and my own responses to them. The book also addresses other challenges: saying goodbye to one who is dying; keeping a deceased loved one in the present; dealing with an estranged husband and his new wife; inventing a feed-and-read support group; understanding military family members’ conflicting attitudes on life; and exploring non-religious perspectives on death.

This story is a wild ride into every mother’s worst fears. It is a recovery story of how I found ways to honor my daughter, hold her close, and grow in the pain of her death. It’s about losing a life and getting a life back.

NOTE: DUETS WITH A DEAD DAUGHTER is still just a manuscript. In April 2017, I will begin querying for an agent to help me find a publisher.

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