She has her husband Simon, a filmmaker with advanced Motor Neurone Disease who can only communicate with his eyes via a computer. Together they have five children under the age of 10, as well as Pappy, a cantankerous Basset Hound. They are kept afloat by relentless army of nurses and carers that flows through their house in Greystones, on the East Coast of Ireland.
And then there is Ruth’s other family - her Tribe of amazing women. Amidst the chaos and the pain that rules their lives, The Tragic Wives Swimming Club congregate together - in summer and winter, on golden afternoons and by the light of the moon - on the sea steps at Women’s Cove. Day after day, they throw themselves into the freezing Irish sea. In that moment, they are free. Later, they will share a thermos of tea, teeth chattering, hands shaking, ready to take on the world once more.
An invocation to all of us to love as hard as we can, and live even harder, I Found My Tribe is an urgent and uplifting letter to a husband, family, friends, the natural world and the brightness of life.
Back in 2008, Ruth Fitzmaurice’s husband Simon was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. His career was just starting to lift and they had three small children so Ruth put her writing ambitions on the back burner to care for him and them. Events took a more dramatic turn when he was given four years to live and then they had had twins. Even though Simon can only communicate using his eyes and technology, he still managed to direct My Name is Emily. Ruth regularly heads to a cove in Greystones, Co. Wicklow with two close friends, Michelle and Aifric to swim in the cold seas. She calls this tribe ‘The Tragic Wives’ Swimming Club’; and gives her a necessary respite from her other tribe of children and carers for Simon.
Even in the most tragic of circumstances, she can see hope, even though she has periods of time where she feels raw and vulnerable. Ruth has a roller coaster of emotions living with Simon and his motor neurone disease. It is tough, but not as tough as the moments when she has to answer the children’s questions as what is happening with Dad, especially when she doesn’t have the answers. The sea swimming becomes those moments when she can be herself and relax with her friends. Her beautiful, sparse prose gets to the very essence of what is happening with the various tribes. It is a moving book too, with several poignant moments.
She is one tough lady.
Since this book was originally written Simon Fitzmaurice sadly passed away in October 2017. He was a celebrated filmmaker who even after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease still continued to make films. My Name Is Emily was about a teenager who decides to free her father from a mental hospital and starred Evanna Lynch, Michael Smiley, and George Webster. He made a documentary about his life called It's Not Yet Dark and it tells us how he coped with everything and how he spoke to the outside world using eye-tracking software.
R I P Simon.
I am just one of a few on this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour. Please do take a few moments to have a look at the other blogs or search for the #IFoundMyTribe hash-tag on Twitter to read more about the book.
Thanks so much for the Blog Tour support Paul xReplyDelete
No problem at all Anne. I hope the post was okDelete
I keep hearing about this book and I feel it's such an important read, even though I'm a bit too feeble to manage it. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
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The third dog in this post, Buddy, makes me feel nostalgic. You may or may not know this, but I used to have a dog named Buddy as well. I grew up with Buddy, my family's yellow lab, starting when I was in middle school. He died just this past January after spending twelve years with our family. I know Buddy is a really common name for a dog, but it still made me feel a connection!ReplyDelete
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