All My Belongings, by Cynthia Ruchti.
This book embodies the essence of redemptive storytelling. It's inspiring. Healing. Captivating.
After reading Cynthia's non-fiction Ragged Hope, I was excited about trying one of her novels.
The plot of this one sounded very odd: the daughter of a convicted mercy-killer murderer wants to flee her family past, so she changes her name and assumes a false identity. I just had to read the book to find out how she handles such a complex issue of our time, euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Becca Morrow, previously Jayne Dennagee, was made to be a care-giver. When her world blew apart, her mother died, and her father's deadly work was revealed, she left nursing school and just wanted a fresh, anonymous start. However, she's still designed to give love to the minds and spirits while attending to bodies that are weakened and dying. Unlike some caregivers, Becca understands that these patients are first of all people, and that the sick have lessons to teach the healthy.
Thanks to a dear friend, Becca has the chance to move cross-country, and care for a elderly lady with dementia. Mrs. Hughes' grown son has tried so hard to provide everything she may need, but none of the nurses have been right for her. When his mother met Becca, it was obvious that they clicked.
Soon, Becca is the brightest spot in both mother and son's lives. Isaac and Aurelia just want to keep her forever. But then the past comes knocking, and its ugly hands pry away their peace.
A strong them in this book, for me, was the fact that you don't have to know someone's past to know them know- and now is what matters.
Cynthia has offered us such a great cast of characters: Isaac, who will rearrange his life if it will help his mother in any way, Aurelia, who is slowly slipping from this world into the next, Becca, who firmly believes that any time you have with someone is another chance to bless them.
I read this book in one evening. That's how much it spoke to me. We're actually in a rather emotional time with my family. My Grammy is in the hospital with cancer, and it appears that she may be absent with us and present with Christ sooner than we would have imagined. What is sustaining her now is gentle touch and spoken prayers and encouragement, and laughter and memories. In other words, Love.
That's why this book wrapped right around my heart... because it lays out a vision of loving people to death. Washing them and feeding them and combing their hair and listening to them even if they can't speak, right up to the end. We fear death, we speak of "cheating death."
We think we're "buying time" when time and grace are gifts from a God who gives them freely. In an increasingly suicide/euthanasia culture, we need to reclaim Death. I don't know exactly how, but I know it needs to be done. And I love All My Belongings.
Thank you Litfuse for my review copy.
Cynthia spends her days diving into words, worship, and wonder and celebrating 41-plus years of marriage, three grown children, and five outrageously adorable grandchildren. One of her greatest joys is helping other writers grow in their craft. To that end, she served as the assistant director and a faculty member of the Quad Cities Christian Writers Conference, has served as worship and devotions staff for the Write-to-Publish conference, and teaches at other conferences as opportunities arise. She speaks frequently for women’s groups, at mother-daughter banquets, and for women’s refresher days and retreats. It is her delight to serve on her church’s worship team and Creative Arts team. Rather than “busy,” she likes the term “active.”