For thirty years, beginning with Fresh Bread in 1985, Joyce Rupp has comforted millions with such books as Praying Our Goodbyes and May I Walk You Home?. For the first time, she shares the story of her own grief in the wake of her mother’s death, offering readers both a profile of her mother’s resilient spirit and a voice of compassion for their own experience of loss.
In this heartfelt memoir about her mother Hilda’s final years, Joyce Rupp shares the lessons her mother taught her, especially to “fly while you still have wings.” As a poor farmer’s wife and the mother of eight living on rented land in Maryhill, Iowa, Hilda lived a life of hard labor and constant responsibility—from milking cows and raising chickens to keeping the farm’s financial ledger. Rupp shows how the difficulties of her mother’s early years and family life, including the loss of a twenty-three-year-old son, forged a resilience that guided her through the illnesses and losses she faced in later years. This affectionate profile of their relationship is, at the same time, an honest self-examination, as Rupp shares the ways she sometimes failed to listen to, accept, and understand her mother in her final years.
Rupp begins each chapter with a meditative poem that captures the essence of each stage in the journey. Her unfailing candor and profound faith illumine this story of a mother and daughter with a universal spirit of hope, reconciliation, and peace.