Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happiest Mom on the Block - a tale of unspeakable tragedy and recovery

Greetings, commies and deplorables!

Today's guest of honor is the remarkably courageous, resilient and candid Katerina Mayants Nelligan, whose confessional memoir Happiest Mom on the Block approaches such agonizing subjects as parental bereavement. This book is her tribute to her firstborn Juliana, who is now an angel in Heaven.

A memoir of a wife and mother of four who shares her biggest struggles and breakthroughs in parenting, marital strife and more importantly understanding of her soul purpose. Everything was perfect when she met the love of her life and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Until one day, a terminal cancer diagnosis of her daughter left her childless and suicidal. Shortly after losing her daughter, she lost her job, her friends and almost lost her marriage to infidelity. After hitting rock bottom, she was compelled to sets sail on a journey to discovering the meaning of life and blessings of tragedies. Along her journey she discovers the biggest eye opening, paradigm shattering secrets to true happiness and bliss. She was finally able to bask in the light that was once at the end of a very long, very dark tunnel. Giving birth to three more children she shares her biggest secrets to raising happy, respectful and loving children who adore life in the same way she does. This book is a compilation of thousands of hours of research and experiences that will leave the reader with a deeper understanding of the privilege of motherhood, the secrets to a satisfying marriage and the gift of discovering who you really are so that you too can be the happiest mom on the block!

My thoughts:
I found out about this author through a Russian parenting group on Facebook. Turns out, we are from the same hometown in the south-east of Belarus, a former Soviet republic. Maybe it's not my place to speculate about it, but I cannot help wondering if the terrible illness that took her firstborn is somehow linked to the radiation fallout from Chernobyl. Even though she is five years younger than me, her early childhood experiences are very similar to mine, especially her brief encounter with anti-semitism, which clearly left a lasting impression on her. And, just like myself, she chose to marry an Irish-American. I found myself nodding and smiling through various passages, as they were somewhat similar to mine. But you do not perceive Kat and James as a "mixed" or international couple. The cultural clash/integration is not the focus of the story. You start rooting for this ambitious, modern couple, who share a strong work ethic and a dream for a large family.

This book is very raw and candid. The author does not pull any punches when describing the horrific illness that took the life of her oldest daughter Juliana. Even if you have never been through such an experience - and I pray you never have and never will - you have probably tried to imagine what it would be like. If you bring a child into this world, there is no guarantee that he/she will outlive you. Infant death used to be a lot more common. I'm not saying that people in the bygone days had a thicker skin about it. But there were more bereaved parents out there who could relate to your experience. Losing a child in the 21st century can also feel isolating, because most families are spared this heartbreaking experience, due to the medical advances.

But, as the title of the book suggests, Kat and James' story does not end on a tragic note. Having gone through every circle of hell, they emerge victorious, their commitment to each other renewed. They go on to have three more children and rebuild their lives and careers.

Real life stories of love, loss and recovery are much more engaging than formulaic romance novels where all plot-twists are pre-determined by the demands of the genre. If you want an inspirational real life story, from a real life woman, not an actress on Lifetime channel, please consider "Happiest Mom on the Block".

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