Cynthia Montanaro’s exquisite book Diary of a Country Mother: A Year Remembering Tim chronicles the year following the death of her teenage son who took his own life. Although the grief of this great loss is woven through the pages, it is not a book of sadness. It is a brave and beautiful celebration of life.
Anchored in the rhythm of the liturgical seasons, Cynthia recalls with joy the little moments of Tim’s short life: his adoption into their home, his love for his family, his vibrant joy. Despite the struggle of raising a child who suffered from mental illness and the pain and grief of losing him so young, this journal celebrates God’s gifts and his grace. It reminds me of St. Therese of Lisieux’s words “tout est grace” or “all is grace.”
Diary of a Country Mother also reminds me of Mary Lenaburg’s blog Passionate Perseverance. Mary cares for a daughter with special needs who is in her last days on this earth. The work is difficult. The pain is real. But it’s not exhaustion or pain that hit me when I see the beautiful photos Mary takes of her daughter–it’s love. The most beautiful Christ-like love. Love that has hands and feet and serves. Love that is full of joy as it delights in the beloved.
Cynthia’s book is full of joy. Each entry feels like an intimate conversation with a dear friend with a steaming hot cup of tea, but the conversation isn’t light–it digs into the stuff of life with deep wisdom. And even the grief of loss is wrapped in the peace of God’s love.
Yes, there is tragedy in Tim’s death–the nightmare every parents fears. But the suffering that comes from his loss is overshadowed by the love Cynthia carries for him.
Diary of a Country Mother is honest and deeply authentic, but it’s a book about hope. Hope in Christ who never fails. Hope in life eternal. Hope in the promise of the Gospel.
This book stands defiantly in the face of our culture of death. It sings of a God who creates life and who holds every life as valuable and worthy of love and dignity. Cynthia cherishes Tim in her memories just as she cherished him in life. I’m glad that she has shared him with all of us.
I’ve dog-eared so many pages–especially the beautiful quotes from the saints that Cynthia weaves into Diary of a Country Mother. This isn’t a book just for those who have suffered a great loss, like the loss of a child, it’s for all of us who need to be reminded of the beauty and wonder of life and the God that walks with us into our sorrow.
“Life is short. Eternity is forever. Love now!”-Diary of a Country Mother
You can purchase the book through Cynthia Montanaro’s etsy shop or find her at her blog.
Cynthia graciously offered one copy of her beautiful book to a Carrots reader. Leave a comment on this post to be entered in the giveaway. Only for U.S. readers, please (due to shipping costs). Giveaway ends at midnight EST November 16th!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Roman Catholic Books. The review copy and giveaway copy were complimentary.
Kristin M says
Sounds like a beautiful mix of sorrow, comfort, and wisdom. A wonderful opportunity to learn from someone who has been through such a dark hour and survived.
I would like to be entered in the give-away please! Thanks for all you do.
Laura T says
I would love to read this book!
What a great review. I can’t wait to read this book. The world feels like it glorifies death. The light of life is a welcome comfort today. Thank you.
AnneMarie Miller says
Thanks for your beautiful review of this book! It sounds amazing–what a beautiful expression of Christian hope and joy amid sorrow!
I would love to read this book. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!
Loved brideshead in your recommendation, reading pride and prejudice now (my first Austen novel) so clearly, if you liked it I will! And a free copy, who doesn’t want that?!?!
This sounds like a wonderful read!
Jenn Short says
I would love to read this. Reading about hope in tragedy has really helped me a lot this year.
I would love to read this book. Sadly, I can relate, as I have also lost a son. Love and motherhood are stronger than death.
Windham Holtsclaw says
I would love to read this book! Cynthia sounds like an amazing woman!
Sounds wonderful. I always trust your reading recommendations and would love to read this one!
This sounds like a beautiful story–I would love to read it!
Sounds like a beautiful memoir!
Renee G says
Sounds like a great book – sad but hopeful
I would love a copy of this book.
I would love to read this book!
I would really like to read this.
Senia Coh says
I would love to have a copy of this book. Seems inspirational!
Andrea Enright says
Sounds powerful, encouraging, thoughtful– would love to read!
I’m always looking for books like this– to read for myself and to pass along. In the lives of those around me, there is a fair amount of turmoil– drug and alcohol abuse, relationship trouble, and on and on. I love books that acknowledge both reality and point us in the direction of hope.
I would love the opportunity to read this book- thank you for sharing her story and courage.
This sounds like a beautiful book … thank you for the giveaway.
What a beautiful testament to Christ’s love!
Kate Weston says
I would love to read this book! I’ve had several friends lose children (mostly miscarriage) in the past few years, and it’s been both heart-breaking and eye-opening to witness.
Kathy Biallas says
What a lovely book this would be to share with a friend.
Rachel Grubb says
That sounds like a wonderful read full of hope and perseverance. I’ve lost a family member to suicide and it is a very challenging time for a family when it happens. Many prayers for that family.
I would love to be entered into the giveaway. It sounds like a beautiful book. I know many people who have lost a child and I work with many who suffer from depression. This is a topic very close to my heart. Thanks for all your beautiful posts!
Sounds like a good read over the holidays to live in the spirit of love and gratitude 🙂
Hannah Jasmine says
I would appreciate having this book. My 18-year-old brother died in a car accident two years ago, so the subject of love and grief is very dear to me.
Jamie Beau says
Wow, what a courageous woman to be able to give hope to others after such a tragedy. I am putting this at the top of books I need to read.
I know the struggles of raising a child with a mental illness, and would enjoy learning from another mother’s experience.
Jennifer Fisher says
Sounds like a wonderful tribute to love and motherhood. ..I would like to be entered into the drawing. Thank you
Marlo S. says
This sounds like a beautiful read. Thank you for the chance to win this mama’s story.
It sounds like an amazing journey and book. I want to read it but, wow, it sure hits me straight in the gut and heart. As the sister of someone who is severely mentally-ill and as a mother I don’t know if I could make it through the book! But reading about how faith and grace were her anchors would be an inspiration to me. Thanks for adding another book to my ‘to-read’ list!
Emily Barnes says
Sounds like a wonderful read!
Sarah C says
This book sounds awesome! Great for reading on the long winter nights (that we have in Ohio).
It is very brave of her to write something so different from the culture of today. God has surely blessed her with much Grace! I will definitely be reading this, win or not!
Emily Cihlar says
I would love to read this book. Thanks for the opportunity!
This sounds like a great book! The description reminded me of “My Sisters the Saints”- another awesome and inspiring one=)
Thanks for hosting the giveaway and introducing us to this book!
Sarah @ Two Os Plus More says
This looks very interesting – going to add to my reading list. =)
I feel sad and encouraged just reading your review! I think I will add this to my list. Thank you!
Laura M. says
Thanks for sharing about this wonderful sounding book. I would love to read it.
I keep my copy of this book on my nightstand and have read it more than once. What I love is that it presents the “bigger picture” of life–too often, we are engulfed in the tragedies, large and small, of our lives> It’s easy to forget that there is another much broader perspective. This book is a good reminder. Jeanette
sounds like a great read! thanks for sharing quotes from it!
I would love to win!
I would love to read this book, thank you for hosting the giveaway!
celeste valverde says
I would love to read this book.
I would love to win a copy of this book.
Sara G. says
Sarah L says
Sounds like a beautiful read!