In And Twice the Marrow of Her Bones, Susan (Sara) Petersen Avitzour offers us the gift of her soul.
For even the best intentioned physical, spiritual or mental health provider, there is always a barrier of privacy, silence and distance between the experience of the people and families they try to help/ serve. Sara gives us a peek into the experience of one family's loss of a precious daughter and simultaneously shares with us Timora's talents, wisdom and zest for life.
She chronicles in minute detail the experiences of seeking medical care, grappling with illness and navigating the medical system.
In parallel she uncovers her spiritual journey through journaling, poetry, theological reflections and ambivalent return to daily life.
No topic is too private and all are related: food, holidays, parenting, support groups, community, travel, music, career, apathy and depression.
Her labor of love is useful to many different audiences:
-Families of children grappling with serious illness can open their eyes and process their own unique experiences with more lenses and on a variety of levels, without self judgment but with the benefit of time and experience.
-Psychologists and social workers can see the benefit of relating to siblings and the whole family dynamic.
-Pastoral caregivers will find deep insights into prayers, synagogue experiences and Torah text that can help universalize or open up the experience of their patients.
-Rabbis and synagogue staff will become sensitized to the volatile and intense effect holiday times have on memory, pain and alienation of grieving families.
-People of faith may grow from hearing the story of a faith retained yet burnished with more doubt and nuance.For your mind, your heart and your spirit, get this book and open the first page. You will not put it down, and you will be transformed.