Loving the Enemy, by Catherine Fransson
“Hang in there. We’ll make it.” Author Catherine Fransson shares a touching memoir about a time in her life that so many people struggle through. It’s a time as an adult, when you are juggling your own life responsibilities, and at the same time caring for people you once depended on for so much — your aging parents. Often at this stage, a family relationship can be laced not only with concerning health problems, but also accumulated personality dysfunctions. Loving the Enemy provides touching insights from one family’s story, and hope that a troubled starting point does not define how a journey together ends.
The author shares times overwhelmed with questions that won’t go away, decisions that have to be faced, and especially emotions that surface, sometimes from unknown depths within. She offers sweet and telling meditations and faith as methods for carrying on. She brings special meaning to what so many mistakenly overlook as unimportant details. Most of all, there is a hope about how people continue to learn and gain perspective, all through life, all the way to the end of it. And while there may be times you cannot be happy, that sometimes you can be reconciled. Even then there can be memorable moments that at an earlier point in time may never have even been imaginable.
Who is prepared for endings? Even when expected, they rock your foundation. This memoir raises some very interesting philosophical points. Helping someone else toward their ending can also bubble up feelings about how everyone’s time will come, even our own. What helps us through endings? Who helps us? Not just family, friends — there’s a gentle reminder in this memoir of the sweet care and understanding of so many of the health and assisted living workers who are an essential aid and comfort to so many.
The author, Catherine Frannson, was ordained to the ministry at Seattle First Baptist Church in 2000. As staff pastor she also served as adjunct faculty teaching pastoral counseling skills with a colleague at the School of Theology and ministry at Seattle University. She’s had a lifelong faith and commitment to empower others. You can find her blogs at at www.spiritstones.net
The author lives in Edmonds and her parents lived in Everett. The history, sites and lifestyle references of this area add to the nostalgia of the flashbacks to her family as she grew up. As an adult, she was surprised to learn things about her parents that she never knew. And she also learned about a courage within each of them, and within herself, so they could all “hang in there. We’ll make it,” as her father was reconciled to say. All the way to the end where there is meaning, if you make it meaningful. Reading this memoir may give you ideas of how you can brighten that time for yourself and others.
— By Wendy Kendall
Wendy Kendall is an author with The Wild Rose Press. Her mystery ‘Kat Out of the Bag’ is available as of April 13, 2020. She is also a volunteer at the Friends of the Edmonds Library