Semi-finalist in the 2005 Independent Publisher Book Awards -- autobiography/ memoir category!
"It was by coincidence that I was catching up with Eleanor Vincent a day after Terri Schiavo passed away and at the start of National Donate Life Month, but the significance was not lost on either of us. Thirteen years ago Eleanor s daughter Maya was declared brain dead by her doctors after a freak accident left her in an irreversible coma. At the request of Maya s neurosurgeon, Eleanor made the life affirming decision to donate Maya s organs to others in need. Last year her memoir, 'Swimming with Maya: A Mother s Story' was published by Capital Books. In it, she describes this heart wrenching event, and the repercussions Maya s death has had on her, Maya s younger sister, Meghan, family members, friends, and the recipients of Maya s organs."
"A 10-year endeavor, Swimming with Maya is about the death of Vincent s daughter and Vincent s decision to donate her daughter s organs. The book is arranged into three parts: the horse-riding accident which caused Maya s death, flashbacks of Maya s life and Vincent s healing and recovery."
"This intensely written memoir is likely to convince anyone of the ultimate worth of transplants....This is a risky, heartfelt book."
"Vincent's prose is wonderfully alive, but it is her psychological insights, her brave willingness to understand the world in a new way that makes this memoir so profoundly moving....What might seem a depressing topic is so exquisitely rendered that Vincent's roller coaster of emotions becomes the reader's as well. I found myself at times weeping gently, holding my breath, laughing out loud, often torn between savoring Vincent's well-wrought words and speeding through her inspiring story."
Although she was shocked and grief stricken, Vincent donated Maya's organs to waiting recipients because she wanted good to come out of something so tragic. Years later, she turned that tragedy into the basis of her memoir, 'Swimming With Maya.'
"Swimming With Maya: A Mother's Story" is the heart-rending true story of a mother who lost her beloved young daughter, yet was able to attain some consolation in knowing that the daughter's organs brought life to others. An emotionally sweeping testimony, brimming with loss and longing in its gradual journey toward acceptance, Swimming With Maya presents its emotion in clear, raw terms that reach out to touch the heart. An unforgettable journey through darkness and light.
Her book is called Swimming With Maya and deals with her personal story of healing following the death of her older daughter. It also tells of the remarkable friendship between a man who is alive because her daughter's heart beats in his chest and the grieving mother (Vincent)."
Eleanor Vincent's memoir, Swimming With Maya, weaves together the threads of mothering, mourning, and letting go. It is the story of a mother's internal path and her struggle to understand why, in fact, our children are not our lives. As the poet Kahlil Gibran wrote, we parents are the bow, and the child is the arrow.Tapping into the darkest of all mother-fears, the opening scenes of the book are a gripping and grueling account of Vincent's 19-year-old daughter's fall from a horse, the ensuing chaos of a coma, and Vincent's decision to donate her daughter's organs after her death. Vincent's story catalogs her own process, the seesawing through grief, the way that losing her daughter forces her to examine all the other losses in her life.Vincent often uses beautiful, poignant imagery when describing some of her life's most painful moments, in the days following her daughter's accident, when Maya is trapped in the limbo of a coma .She guides readers through peculiar facts of the transplant process . Swimming With Maya is much more than a heartbreaking account of losing a child. It is a memoir about motherhood, about the tangled web of parenting and childhood .And perhaps bravest of all, Vincent reveals her own shortcomings .At the close of Swimming With Maya, Vincent keeps on keeping on, her second child, Meghan, now tucked into young adulthood, a freshman in college. There is no shiny epiphany, no gleeful shedding of her mourning robes in this book .Contemplating the death of a child is excruciating in any form, and reading Vincent's memoir is painful on a number of levels. But if a mother can take in Vincent's truth, she'll likely find it to resonate strongly, since Swimming With Maya is a story of letting go, which is the undercurrent always present in mothering. All of us will have to ease ourselves away from our babies in one way or another."