Posted in Book Reviews, Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy

Book Review: “My Sister’s Journey” “From Headache to Heartache” by Barb Parker

Barb and Deb
Barb and Deb

Flash Back

I read this book on the 30th of December 2013 and this was my comment on its facebook page:

Barb Parker, thank you for writing this book, it sure is a deserving homage to your sister and an honour to us the readers. Before I continue, I was just a bit disappointed that I don’t see pictures of your sister in her glows before the headaches began. I have an only brother who was a geek, everyone called him a computer he was super intelligent and my Mother’s Boy, I loved him so much and fought real fights for him. One day his life changed and ours as well. He sunk into a depression and is still so unstable, well you know much more. The last time I was blessed to speak with him, he sounded so happy and spoke for 30 minutes but the next day he wrote to me saying I should mind my business. When I read your book, and how Deb said things you would never have imagined of her like someone is cruel, I understood more. Yes there is strength in what remains and all things work out for the good of those who fear the Lord. Happy New Year.”

Well, a lot has definitely happened between that New Year’s Eve and now – simply put, I have also had the haunting experience of writing that very brother’s journey. Sure this book turned out to be my inspiration and I can’t thank Barb enough.

For me to ‘break’ my blog routine and post a book review on a Tuesday (instead of the self proclaimed 2 fridays a month), surely indicates something boiling.

Deb’s Journey

Sweet Deb on her wedding day
Sweet Deb on her wedding day

She was ever so sweet, pretty and polite until the headches she had been complainging of, were diagnosed to be a brain aneurism. Ok you help me out, that’s not one of them I understand. I however imagine the pain her family went through in trying to understand and help her through the numerous brain surgeries and 90° change in personality and much more. Were it not for the clear categorization of what was seemingly wrong, she could as well have had some mental illness.

I permit myself the luxury of commenting here that I think the family’s approach to a loved one’s illness (be it mental or physical – just whatever or even both), goes a long way in the ‘healing’ of the patient – yes even if that healing leads to death. (Healing to me means much more that being rid of your troubles or suffering and same for recovery – I leave my philosophy at this).

The featured description (This book was voted READERS CHOICE 2013 by Salon Magazine)

The beautiful cover

The beautiful cover

Deb Morin was a loving mother and wife. At the age of forty-nine, her life was changed completely by a brain aneurysm and stroke. Deb’s husband, parents and family felt helpless in their attempt to help bring back the real Deb.

Deb was blessed with many miraculous healings from God during her illness. She was always proud to tell people about God’s love. She never lost her faith. Her last days were spent singing hymns, praising God and talking about all the ways that God had healed her.

“What a beautiful tribute to your precious sister. The journal kept my interest all the way through. I especially liked how you brought her to the reader by describing her home and her decorating skills, her love for nice things, clothes etc. I found this let me know Deb as a real person since I had not met her: a wonderful way for your family and others to remember who she was as a sister.” —Betty Russell

Author Barb Parker and her husband, Larry, live on Grand Manan Island, N.B. Barb felt compelled to write My Sister’s Journey to fulfill her sister’s dream. It was Deb’s dream to write her story about her illness and journey from the daily journal that her sister kept for her. Deb was sure it would help someone. Deb’s unpredictable comments and escapades add flavour to her story.

My Take and Rate

Well, you already have most in the flash back. I have also mentioned how I admire her family’s determination to help her through. I can’t help but wonder if it would have been the same scenario were she mentall ill – as an official diagnosis. Lucky for her, the brain aneurism etc, explained the change in language, attitude every now and then and her return to babyhood.

Whatever, does it matter any more? Hell no! As I had mentioned in my first comment on the facebook page, there were no pictures of Deb’s glow before the flow into eternity. Barb started sharing all those on the facebook page, only much later – maybe my comment sparked that (I’ll be glad to know I did something no matter how foolish, childish or whatever). I gave the book a five star then, and still stand by that. I equally admire Deb’s faith and of course Barb’s and the entire family – to each his /her choice.

About the Author

Barb and her books ( yes she wrote one called The Choice, which I will be reviewing in due time – I read both on the same December 30th 2013, fresh from the shelves), can be found on pretty several places. You can also find Deb’s story on the shelves of most libraries in Canada and in some USA Libraries too.



Barnes and Noble

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Marie Angele Abanga (simplified to Marie Abanga) aka MAG likes to describe herself as a “Jacqueline of several trades”. She is an everyday woman and mother with a zigzag profile. Let’s give it a try! She is an Activist, an Author, a Coach, a Consultant, a Feminist, a Lawyer, a Lecturer, a Prince 2 Project Manager, a Psychotherapist, a Philanthropist, a minister of the Word of God and...! She just loves to sum it up by saying she is a person of passions and a tale of talents. Her life’s journey has filled over 6 books already and her three musketeers keep her busy at home. MAG is also the founder and CEO of the association Hope for the Abused and Battered, and the Country Director of the Gabriel Bebonbechem Foundation for Epilepsy & Mental wellbeing. The plethora of life's experiences and shenanigans she has lived through and learned from in near 4 decades of existence, have equipped her with such an arsenal to coach, train and motivate just any and everyone. She is so charismatic, dynamic and full of life, going by her designed mantra of 3Ds: Determination; Discipline and Dedication. These sum her+her quest to be the best version of herself and impact others perfectly. She attributes all her wealth of knowledge to her conscientious attendance of both informal and formal school.

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