Friday, August 31, 2012

Steven Manchester Takes Us Where All Must Go...

"Doctor Olivier was a white-haired gent with a moustache trimmed a half-inch off his top lip, betraying his military background. With a white coat to match, his stethoscope swung freely from his thick neck. He had large hands with perfectly manicured fingernails. It's strange the things you pick up when somebody's about to invade your private parts. "Don," he began in his calm, no-nonsense approach, "I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but...you have colon cancer." He opened the folder for more details.
"I felt like he'd just punched me in the gut. 'I what?' I asked, one octave higher than normal.
"The rectal bleeding, weight loss, abdominal pain and the fact that your stools have become longer and more narrow are all symptoms...
" A bolt of panic, generating from my core, shot out and filled every cell of my body. My extremities began to tingle and my breathing turned shallow. There was a sudden pain in my chest and I knew intuitively that this was felt for my wife. What's Bella going to do? I wondered, and a wave of dizziness nearly pushed me off the table. Then, I must have gone into some kind of shock or something. I kept eye contact, but for a while all I heard was a hum; the occasionaol phrase dancing in and out.
"...trace amounts of blood. Blah. Blah. Blah. ...blockages preventing bowel movements. Blah. Blah. Blah. ...consumption of red meat, obesity, smoking. Blah. Blah. ...stage four. Blah. Blah' There was a long pause. 'Do you understand what I'm saying, Don?' he finally asked..."
Twelve Months

By Steven Manchester


I first met Steven Manchester through his book, Pressed Pennies! (Check out my review). I still remember the book's title and it brings the book to mind. Titles are important, but they don't necessarily guide you in knowing what a book will be about. Indeed, I thought Twelve Months was a thriller. And, you know what, in many ways it is! Just not the type of thriller I'd expected...

 
His name is Don DiMarco, but it could have just as easily been...yours! At my age, it was easy to put myself in Don's place. My mother had lived with me during her last years and I had oftened sat and watched her chest to ensure she was still breathing...just as I now watch for signs in my own life... But Don was not my age. He had retired early, at 57, to spend time with his loved ones. He was also like me in that, we are both thinkers--those that spend time on reflection, our lives, our relationships. Are you like that?

Maybe not now. But what if you were given 12 months to live?

That's right, Don's doctors told him to "get his affairs in order" and they would do the best they could to make it easy for him...

I was still working at 57, although I did retire early due to Job Burnout. But, I wasn't even thinking about death at that time. Don hadn't been either. And I'm assuming you haven't either...

Don DiMarco did not immediately start to get his affairs in order. He began a celebration--a year of celebration for he and his family. A joyful, loving time of togetherness! Readers, you've just got to read about that year!

You may have seen The Bucket List several years ago and even created your own bucket list--things you want to do before you die. The movie was a comedy and with the two characters, I am sure anybody who saw it would have enjoyed it...laughed, had fun...

But, you see, when you read a book, you are not just seeing the list of things being done. You see and read about what the main character is thinking--you feel his pain, you know when he sets it aside to go on sharing with his grandchildren, craving each and every minute that he still has to give them precious memories and show how much he loved them...

You learn about how Don's family felt, what and how they responded, and how they showed Don their love...

Yes, Don had a list of things he'd always wanted to do...some were fun things, some were to create memories. It was only his wife, in the privacy of their moments together than Don allowed her to share in how badly he was hurting, how quickly deterioration was occurring.

There may be other books out there about death and dying. But I have never had the privilege of sharing a loved one's death. Even my mother thankfully died in her sleep, having had the Lord take her with no pain. But that doesn't happen to everybody. Your family's medical history may allow you to mentally think through what might happen. But Manchester's novel takes us to the time and place where death is imminent for Don DiMarco and his family...

You will experience his fear, his pain, his regret--but, so much more, you will experience the ability each of us will have--to joyfully celebrate those final days, months, or years, knowing that we can face death head on--and make it bow down to what we are willing to do during those days. Plan right now to celebrate with your loved  ones as death calls... Read Twelve Months by Steven Manchester and learn what is possible... Yes, I said "learn" because for many of us, we live each day not thinking about anything but getting through that day. Manchester has a special gift, in addition to his wonderful writing, in being able to take us into the intimate moments that occur in our lives. He forces us to realize that there are alternatives to giving in to pain, for instance--to choose life up to the very moment of death!

Memorable, obviously, but unforgettable in its potential for each of us. A thriller? You bet! The thrill of experiencing your own 12 months... I pray that each reader will take the opportunity I've had. Thank you Steven Manchester for writing this book...


GABixlerReviews

Steven Manchester is the published author of Twelve Months, Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning and BET's Nightly News. Recently, three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or his four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. Visit: www.StevenManchester.com

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