On a crisp October day in 2002, O'Connor woke from a 47-day medically induced coma. She heard her ecstatic husband's voice and struggled to make sense of his words: "Do you remember that you had a baby?" You'll be captivated by the story of this new mother's healing journey---and her courageous determination to re-enter her world! 240 pages, hardcover from Revell.
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"The day our baby came into the world was the day I left. A day that began all smiles and excitement and anticipation and joy ended with running and panic and blood and tears. And then coma."
The Long Awakening is the true story of a life-threatening coma, a miraculous awakening, and the long quest to regain what was lost. Readers who have known someone with a brain injury or who has been in a coma will especially be drawn to this book, but I believe it's a story that anyone can relate to. Tighter writing would have moved the narrative along better, but I still enjoyed Lindsey's writing and was caught up emotionally in her story. So many elements come into play - finding oneself totally dependent on others, having to relearn the simplest things, questioning God, the effect of chronic illness on a spouse, making tough medical decisions, accepting a life that will never be the same. Lindsey's story touched me and I'd like to share a few quotes that made an impact.
Jacquelyn, struggling with her mother's crisis, thought of what it might be like to forget about God: "In her mind she literally saw a dirt trail with hills in the distance and the trail forked into two distinct paths. Down one path was her life if she chose to abandon faith and abandon God. The other path was her life with God. And she realized, both paths had pain regardless. . . . And from her life at that moment in its seeming hopelessness, she saw nothing different on either path. . . . Lord, as hard as this is with you, I don't want to do it without you."
Seeing her baby after coming out of a coma, Lindsey reflects: "I understand - this was my baby - but I wonder when her mother's going to come get her."
Tim had patiently and faithfully read to Lindsey during her coma, and she later says: "I'm so grateful that Tim believed and defended one piece of advice he'd been given: hearing is a sense that can remain after all others are gone. He'd been the sentry enforcing his order, for the two months I slept, that no one should say anything in my comatose presence that they would not say had I been awake."
Tim, trying to make a medical decision: "God can save. God can create miracles out of things and this is an opportunity for God if He so chooses to do it. It's His opportunity for a miracle and for me to step in and take away that opportunity was not a choice for me."
And in the continual questioning, Lindsey finally realizes: "I'd been looking for God in the fireworks and the feelings, and He'd been in the comfort, and in the peace in room 4273 and in questions, in community and their sacrifices, in the transcendence, all along, hiding in plain sight." I can't help but think how often I've found God "hiding in plain sight."
Anyone who has been associated with chronic illness or brain injury can relate to this story, but I recommend it to any reader looking for a true story of survival and recovery.
Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 2 for The Long Awakening: A Memoir
Long Awakening unique side of Brain Injury & Recov
Imagine your life if you lost a part of it. You couldn't remember you were excited to welcome a newborn child into your life. Worse yet the first month and a half of your child's life would be something you would never experience. How do you recover from something like that and what's more how do you recapture what should have been?
On August 30, 2002, Lindsey gave birth to her daughter. But what should have been a time of joy and celebration soon becomes an long and lingering battle. Complications from pregnancy send Lindsey into a 47 day long coma.
But awakening from the coma was not the end of her ordeal - she needed to relearn basic functions. What you or I would take for granted was lost. And worst of all Lindsey seemed to have a detachment from her emotions. This is Lindsey's journey to recovering what she had lost and to reconnect with her family as both wife and mother.
When one hears about someone in a coma waking-up one doesn't necessary realize what the recovery after awakening is like. Lindsey can't even breathe on her own. I think when she compares having a bit of a memory arise being similar to coming to the end of a chapter in a book and not beimg able to continue on an interesting comparison.
Take a journey of awakening when you read The Long Awakening.
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and as a result of this the publisher Revell has provided me with a copy of this book in exchange with my honest review.
Over the past few weeks, I've been reading an interesting book. It's this one by Lindsey O'Connor. I was curious about this book. I love to read books that help me step into someone else's shoes and understand his or her life. I want to know about how they've dealt with struggles and suffering, how it felt, and how other people in their lives responded (for better or for worse) and the impact of those responses. I want to know because I want to love people better. I don't want to say the wrong thing. I find that I am able to be more sensitive in my words and actions when I am aware of what hurts and what doesn't.
The Long Awakening is the the story of a woman who enters a coma for 47 days on the day she gives birth to her fifth child. The story talks briefly about her life before her family, her pregnancy and birth of her fifth child, her time in a coma, and her recovery from that coma. From the beginning, Ms. O'Connor explains that a family's living through a coma and the recovery from one is not like the movie "While You Were Sleeping". I had no idea. In fact, it is a very long process.
I would say that this book was very eye opening for me. Ms. O'Connor is a skilled writer and is very descriptive in how she explains what she has lived through. Her descriptions helped me see things through her glasses. Multiple times in the book, my heart hurt for her and her family. Compassion and sympathy is something I believe we have to cultivate in our hearts. I think that if we know more about other people's lives we are less likely to judge one another.
I think we are also more likely to have a balanced perspective about life--to understand that there is suffering in all of our lives. Someone else's life might look perfect or they might look like they have it all together, but we all have struggles.
I think what struck me most about this book was how gradual Ms. O'Connor's recovery from the coma was and how it came step by step--little step by little step. Her friends gathered around and stepped in to help her family. They offered and followed through. They loved, but didn't push. And when they did push, it was gently. They brought meals, their presence, cards, gifts for her children, listened to the promptings of the Lord about how to help (while Ms. O'Connor was asleep, one friend gave her daughter a bracelet on her birthday--just what she always had given her older children on that special day). A few years ago, I read a book for widows and for people seeking to understand and love them well. It was helpful to me at the time. This book is helpful to me in the same way. It helped me to realize that everyone's experience in a coma is different. It helped me better understand the gravity of what a coma means--and the recovery from one. She addresses many topics over the course of the book. One was an interesting discussion about the miracle of her waking up in the middle of the book. She doesn't come to a conclusion, but I appreciated her thoughts about whether she was a miracle or what happened was a miracle. It was very well-written and thought provoking.
I do have to admit that as I headed in to have Lasik surgery on my eyes last week, I did have to put this book down. Fears about the outpatient operation were something I needed to keep at bay and not feed by thinking about suffering that came unexpectedly from a medical procedure...
Would I recommend this book? Yes, I definitely would. Her book is a very frank memoir about not only her experience and what she felt emotionally, but also her faith.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Revell Books.
I am reviewing this book in honor of Brain Injury Awareness month.
This book sounded really interesting to me and it was. But I really struggled to follow it. The thoughts seemed very random which as first I understood. You are reading the book from Lindsey's point-of-view and of course as she comes out of the coma she is confused.
Then the book bounces around a lot to different people, different times. This made it hard for me to stay engaged while reading.
There is a lot of beauty in this book, as Lindsey's husband stays by her side and as you realize she hasn't seen her baby in over a month and doesn't even know if her baby is a live. I can't even imagine going through that or what her older children had to experience not knowing when or if their mom would come home.
Even though I didn't love this book you might and I always encourage you to make your own opinion. If the book sounds interesting you might want to give it try.
A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Probably one of the best books I'll read this year, and certainly one of the most moving. If the idea of this book intrigues you at all, you would do well to check it out. It's the story of a life-changing-event story, it's the story of a miracle, it's a story about what-happens-after-your-life-changes, and it's a warmly human story.
The way Lindsey tells this story is riveting. You'd think the account of a woman who goes into a coma the day her fifth child is born would be too terrible to even read, but there is such a sense of love in this book amidst the tragedy. Such a strong sense of family and caregiving and care-receiving and comforting each other and grieving together and the bonds between us that never let us go.
She recounts so many of her family's experiences in this book, giving us multiple windows into that time. We read about the way Lindsey's eldest daughter returned home to become sister-mother to newborn Caroline, and how Lindsey rejoiced that her baby had such good care and yet mourned that she didn't know her own infant's languages.
She tells us about the conversations that went on behind the scenes, as her family lived without the ability to grieve fully or the ability to completely hope. It was like they were all underwater, her in the coma and them in the aftermath of uncertainty and fear. The worst thing I can imagine is having to look at children's faces while they ask "What is going to happen to Mom?"
Yet Lindsey keeps a little humor and hint of irony in her storytelling too. When she was released from the hospital at last, and all her friends and family would cry with happiness every time they saw her, she nicknames herself The Human Onion.
Chapter 21 may be my favorite chapter of all, as that is the one where Lindsey begins to look back and ask God what on earth was the meaning of all of that, and where was He in it. I was underlining quotes throughout this book, and I found some of my favorite in those pages.
Again, if you think this book may be for you, it comes highly endorsed by Eric Metaxas and many other well-spoken voices of our day. I would suggest you try it.
The Long Awakening is such a moving story of a mother who awakes from a medically induced coma and the long, slow struggle of recovering from the trauma not only for the mother but for the whole family. Their faith gets them through this even in the times when they struggle to believe.
This book not only gripped my heart and my emotions, but it also helped me to understand what it would be like to go through something like this. I believe this book would be of encouragement to others going through situations such as this.
I am so grateful I read this book and know it will be one I would read again and share with others.
In this day and age, having a baby should be easy , with complications rarely happening, right??? Well, in the case of LIndsey, this became a tragic moment. The joy of a new infant was overcome by a mother's life-threatening coma!! Would she have a miraculous recovery and awakening or was it time to leave this world to go to the arms of her Lord??
Lindsey tells her story of her unexpected pregnancy and the tragic situation that develops immediately after the birth of a healthy baby girl. Her day started with all the happiness and excitement that a new baby brings, however ended with running, panic , blood and tears. The baby thrives, Lindsey exists!! In a deep unknown world of nothingness. She goes into a coma, from which few think she will ever recover. This tragedy is described in detail, keeping you glued to the page, wanting to know what Lindsey's future will be, if indeed, there is a future for her on this earth.
Meanwhile , there is a newborn , healthy, and needing to be loved. Without her mother's care and love, will she thrive?? Lindsey's elder daughter takes over, giving up her dreams of college, for the moment, to care for this tiny sister. The depth of a sister's love is described in such detail that you become part of her challenges, joys and discouragement. She continues to grow in the Lord, as she fills her mother's shoes, in nurturing this new little one. The present is a nightmare situation for the family. Although Lindsey's husband never gives up, she relates his worries, fears and heartache in a depth that you can feel in your inner most being.
Forty seven days later, Lindsey first shows signs of regaining her consciousness. The first thing she sees is her husband's face leaning over her.Lindsey's road to recovery is long and at times wearisome and discouraging. With her family, she fights to relearn how to return to her family , as a mom. It is a VERY long journey and she describes it in depth.
Although I generally prefer not to read books written in the first person, this story grabbed me from the very first page. I could feel the pain, heartache, and tragedies. It is a spectacular work of recalling and recovering, told in a sincere and meaningful way. The times of weeping and fear experienced by this Christian family touched me deeply. What a mother will do to return to her family, although hard physically and emotionally, is simply amazing and shows us the power of God, who has much to do in His plan for them.
Definitely a book to leave you reflecting on the value of life and how God is at work , even in the toughest situations.
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Review 8 for The Long Awakening: A Memoir
Coma, Awakening & the long quest to regain what wa
Lindsey O'Connor in her new book, "The Long Awakening" published by Revell gives us The riveting true story of a life-threatening coma, a miraculous awakening, and the long quest to regain what was lost.
From the back cover: The riveting true story of a life-threatening coma, a miraculous awakening, and the long quest to regain what was lost.
The day our baby came into the world was the day I left. A day that began all smiles and excitement and anticipation and joy ended with running and panic and blood and tears. And then coma.
I lay suspended in the deep, my newborn unknown. Nothingness. Layers where dark pulled from below, light called from above, and me, trapped in between, longing to break the surface.
Forty-seven days later when I first saw my husband's face leaning close to me, I knew where, and who, I was. But other things took much longer to know. Learning to restitch life-and love-when everything's changed, and finding who we are afterward, can be the longest journey of all.
I'm Lindsey O'Connor, and this is the story of my long awakening.
Forty seven days is a long chunk of someone's life to lose. On August 30, 2002 at the age of 41, Lindsey O'Connor experienced childbirth complications and received over 20 units of blood, two times the amount of blood in her body, while giving birth to her daughter, Caroline. Doctors put her into a medically-induced coma to allow her brain, lungs and body to heal. Initially her doctors did not know what was medically wrong, and there was no promise she would wake up. While in a coma, Lindsey suffered multi-organ failure and was close to death several times, leaving her family on an emotional roller coaster. For 47 excruciating days her family waited with Lindsay's expected death looming. Miraculously, she woke up. With no memory of the time spent in a coma. Ms. Lindsey gives a personal account of what it was like for her from the moment she came out of her coma until the time when she was able to regain the time of her life that had continued to flow by her while she was out. This is a wonderfully told book that will have you crying in spots and cheering in others. "The Long Awakening" is a book of the mercy and grace of God and the prayers of our loved ones.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Available October 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I have 2-3 pages of little bits from the book that touched my heart. After three pages I stopped because I would have an incredibly long review if I wrote about all of of my notes. For the sake of this review, I will just touch on a few more important ones.
Let me start by saying I really enjoyed The Long Awakening and found myself reading faster to see what how Lindsey’s story ended.
First, I am always impressed when a family rallies around one another and does what needs to be done through difficult circumstances, such as the O’Connor’s 47+ day tragedy. For example, Lindsey’s oldest daughter postponed college in order to stay at home to take care of her baby sister. This is something no parent wants to force on their oldest child, but the fact that Jacquelyn decided on her own her baby sister needed to be in their family home and not “farmed” out to another home to be cared for showed her love, devotion and sacrifice to do what was in the best interest of not only Caroline, but the whole family.
Jacquelyn’s intuition about her sister Allison was amazing too. I loved reading about how she got her little sister to open up and showed her it was ok to cry, to grieve over what had happened to their mom. The O’Connor’s must have been so proud of her.
Secondly, Lindsey’s family had so much support, love and help that it was a sweet testimony to one nurse in particular, who said, “she’d never seen people come around a family like that.” They had a church that put love into action – for the long haul.
I’ve been taken to emergency surgery during a couple of my miscarriages, but I never uttered the words Lindsey did when she was being wheeled away:
“Please take care of me. I have five children now.”
Weird, but I felt guilty. Granted her situation was completely different but still. It’s amazing what another woman’s story can illicit from my own soul.
I could not have been as calm as Lindsey was when she found out she had an emergency hysterectomy. Listen to what her response was:
“Why does this matter? Uterus in, uterus out. A little rain. Get out the umbrella. I had no use for that body part anymore.”
Not having been in her situation, I can only imagine how I would have responded. I guess this was the least of her concerns at the time. More important matters had her attention, such as, communicating, moving, holding and bonding with her baby, getting her life back.
I could go on for another 500 words, but the last thing I wanted to share had a profound affect on me was when Lindsey spent two hours tapping a spoon against her bedside table only to be ignored. The reason they found out later was because this was a physical quality brain damaged people exhibited. Lindsey’s words were:
“I lay brain damaged and didn’t warrant a response.”
That made me so very sad. The hospital staff heard her but ignored her. Thank God she had her husband advocating for her!
I highly recommend this book. It will make you cry, but Lindsey’s story is a must read. Talk about triumphing over huge hurdles!
“Available October 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing a review. While we consider it a privilege to receive products to review, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.