Author Guest Post
Dying Sister Made It Clear: Tell My Story
It was after coming across my sister’s journal that I knew without question that I had to share her story. It took me months to actually read the journal in its entirety, it was simply too hard. I could almost hear Kelli’s voice as I read her written words. Her entries were raw, at times incredibly disturbing, but for the most part, painfully sad. Each and every time that I read it, my heart breaks just a little bit more. It always will.
Kelli made it clear throughout her journal that she wanted me to tell her story, hoping that it could hopefully prevent other veterans from dying within the same system. Clearly she was losing her battle and knew it. But instead of battling in the trenches alone, silently, she documented her torment, knowing one day that she’d leave it behind for me to read.
Kelli referenced several times that she was surrendering to God, which is why I chose the title Sister Surrendered. Kelli had an extremely strong faith in God which is something that I ironically struggle to find.
I opted to include some of the actual journal entries within the book, not knowing of a better way to convey Kelli’s messages’. But what I didn’t anticipate was me commencing in an almost dual- dialogue between Kelli and me, which ended up setting the tone throughout the entire book from start to finish.
Sister Surrendered was actually written as a screenplay early on. I wrote it prior to the lawsuit even coming to light. Writing screenplays were familiar and I found solace in writing them. But it was after the settling of the case, a couple of years later, that I knew writing a book was the right answer, it just was. I began writing the book on Jan 1st, 2014 and finished in mid-March. It was fast, it had to be. I struggled to begin writing it, nervous of the emotional roller-coaster that I was about to embark on. So when I finally committed to putting my thoughts to the keyboard, I had to do it as quickly as possible, at times, hyperventilating between sentences. It was a painful journey, peeling back layers of grief that I’d prefer to stuff away. It’s easier that way isn’t it? At least it is for me.
About The Author
Her memoir, Sister Surrendered, is her latest release.
Sister Surrendered by Darla M. Grese
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: April 10, 2014
Format: Paperback - 212 pages
Kindle - 2314 KB
BUY THE BOOK: Sister Surrendered
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book Tours.
When you’re a twin, loneliness is somewhat unfamiliar because you’ve always had each other. So when a twin passes, the other is left unprepared. Our loyalty was steadfast and our devotion to one another, solid. Our love was unconditional no matter what the circumstances. I’m so grateful every day for the memories of the joy and laughter that we shared together. I know the bond that Kelli and I shared is impossible for anyone to replace. This memoir has become something so much more than initially intended. It’s become a documented journey barely scratching the surface of the love between two sisters. And surprisingly, it’s also become an outlet for me to speak candidly and honestly about my struggles with the cause of Kelli’s death. This is a love story turned tragedy. An exposure of one of the greatest healthcare failures killing Veterans and civilians, and a cry for help to remedy the fiasco. I’ve stressed about who I would mention in this book, nervous that I would hurt someone’s feelings by not mentioning their names. But I’ve realized that it’s impossible to do. Kelli had so many great friends, some I’ve never even met. I need each person to know who has taken the time to reach out to me in whatever capacity that if it weren’t for your heartfelt show of support and love, I don’t know that I would be able to muster the energy to even get up each day. Kelli, we did it.
Read Chapter One and Two HERE.
My Book Review:
Sister Surrendered is the poignant memoir about twin sisters Darla and Kelli, bonded by love and friendship, and their heart wrenching journey through childhood to adulthood. Through Kelli's personal journal entries, Darla weaves an emotional account of their shared lives, and the heartbreaking loss of Kelli due to the negligence of the VA healthcare system that failed to properly oversee her medical condition and needs.
This is a beautifully written and touching tribute that demonstrates the love and strong bond for a twin sister that will pull at the heartstrings and stir your soul. Through the determination and dedication to make sure that Kelli's life was not in vain or forgotten, Darla keeps her twin's memory alive through the sharing of Kelli's journal entries, and the documenting of her difficult life journey dealing with mental illness and addiction that tragically ended her life. Darla brings to light awareness for a VA healthcare system that is wrought with mismanagement, medical negligence, and utter disregard and failure to properly provide the appropriate medical service to the veterans and helpful caregivers resources for their loved ones. You can't help but feel the full gamut of emotions as Kelli and Darla's story unfolds, this is definitely an inspirational and compelling story that must be told in the hope that it will help other veterans and the general public who are in need of proper medical care.
Kudos Darla for having the strength, courage, love, and determination to let Kelli's voice be heard.
RATING: 5 STARS
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