.I Found my Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice (Book Review)
Thank you to Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice.
I Found My Tribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice
Ruth Fitzmaurice has two extraordinary families.
She has her husband Simon, a filmmaker with advanced Motor Neurone Disease who can only communicate with his eyes via a computer. Together they have five children under the age of 10, as well as Pappy, a cantankerous Basset Hound.
And then there is Ruth’s other family – her Tribe of amazing women. Amidst the chaos and the pain that rules their lives, The Tragic Wives Swimming Club congregate together – in summer and winter, on golden afternoons and by the light of the moon – on the sea steps at Women’s Cove. Day after day, they throw themselves into the freezing Irish sea. At that moment, they are free. Later, they will share a thermos of tea, teeth chattering, hands shaking, ready to take on the world once more.
An invocation to all of us to love as hard as we can, and live even harder, I Found My Tribe is an urgent and uplifting letter to a husband, family, friends, the natural world and the brightness of life.
The book is the true-life story of Ruth Fitzmaurice who married Simon, a film director. They have five children.
Simon had Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and Ruth tells how the symptoms started with a floppy foot and progressed until he was kept alive by a ventilator, unable to move. He communicated by moving his eyes around a computer keyboard, an electronic voice gave out his thoughts.
Ruth craves peace and quiet, her home feels like it has been invaded by an army of nurses and medical equipment.
Her coping mechanism is rough sea swimming in the Irish sea. In the icy cold waters, she can switch her mind off and give her body a few moments of relaxation, and freedom from emotional pain. Her small group of sea swimming friends call themselves ‘The Tragic Wives Swimming Club’ and share a deep love of the mighty sea. She talks about the forces of nature, the sea, the sky, trees and birdsong. I think they bring her great comfort in a noisy, chaotic, lonely and exhausting world.
Ruth’s words are insightful and inspiring, if only I had the courage to plunge myself into the sea, I could experience the uniqueness of sea swimming that she describes so eloquently.
She writes whimsically about daydreaming, superheroes, dancing and treasure hunting. Again, I suspect another coping strategy. Strength comes in the form of her children and devoted friends and she finds pleasure in the simplest things like a nice pen or a good cup of tea in a pretty mug.
I read I Found My Tribe in one evening and loved hearing about the wonderful Fitzmaurice family ….truly inspirational.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ruth Fitzmaurice was born in 1976 and grew up in Co. Louth, Ireland. She was a radio researcher and producer when she married film director and writer, Simon, in 2004. In 2008, Simon is diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given three years to live. Simon went into respiratory failure in 2010 and was accidentally placed on a ventilator during an emergency procedure. He decided, against medical advice, to keep the ventilator; Ruth and Simon went on to have twins in 2012. In January 2016, Ruth wrote her first piece for the Irish Times about family life and sea swimming. She lives in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, with her five children Jack, Raife, Arden, Sadie, Hunter, a dog and a cat. Simon passed away in October 2017.
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