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SWISH: MARIA IN THE MOURNING

PAMELA PALMER MUTINO

Outskirts Press

Nonfiction
December 2007

ISBN #: 9781432700867

One minute a mother is relishing the swishing sound of a wedding dress in anticipation of her daughter's wedding. Almost the next minute, it seems, she is mourning the death of that same daughter to horrific addiction and overdose of heroin. It's enough to make her imagine that a ornament-less, six-foot Christmas tree is the perfect size of a heroin dealer which she attacks with unmitigated rage.

Words can't describe the cycles of mourning, so aptly described years ago by Kubler-Ross, that consume the being of this mother who was so intimately involved in her daughter's life, as every loving mother would be. But far fewer mothers have had to do deal with the agony and hope of a daughter in rehabilitation, a process given attention in phone calls and Maria's letters from both jail and rehab center.

One particularly startling section describes the cold, clinical and heartless treatment Maria's mother received at the hospital where Maria was taken after her overdose. It's impossible to excuse this lack of sensitivity and Maria's mother aptly also describes her reactions to it in a letter composed to the staff of that hospital.

The words penned by Ms. Mutino and Maria's friends will poignantly touch the reader's heart but also leave them with the many questions such a death leaves behind, like the destruction wreaked by a horrific storm. The literate quality of this account sets it apart from the multitude of other accounts, with poetry such as "Heroin and the Livid Lie," in whith the author describes the process and aftermath of this insidious, consuming killer, "...My bare feet / tiptoe thorugh your psyche... / I am hungry / but you don't feed me.... / Abandoned, / I die inside you..."

Swish: Maria in the Mourning is quite simply unforgettable!

Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on August 18, 2008

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