An unflinching memoir by a working nurseAs a child, Mary Jane Nealon dreams of growing up to become a saint or, failing that, a nurse She idolizes Clara Barton, Kateri Tekakwitha, and Molly Pitcher, whose biographies she reads and rereads But by the time she follows her calling to nursing school, her beloved younger brother is diagnosed with cancer, which challenges her to bring hope and healing closer to home His death leaves her shattered, and she flees into her work, and into poetry Beautiful Unbroken details Nealon s life of caregiving, from her years as a flying nurse, untethered and free to follow friends and jobs from the Southwest to Savannah, to somber years in New York City, treating men in a homeless shelter on the Bowery and working in the city s first AIDS wards In this compelling and revealing memoir, Nealon brings a poet s sensitivity to bear on the hard truths of disease and recovery, life and death....
|Title||:||Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse's Life|
|Publisher||:||Graywolf Press Original edition July 19, 2011|
|Number of Pages||:||224 pages|
|File Size||:||798 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse's Life Reviews
Thank you Mary Jane Nealon for this book. The BEAUTIFUL UNBROKEN is 210 pages of tightly written prose, so tightly written that it reads like the finest of profound poetry. Nealon is a writer and she is a nurse – among many other vocations. She is strong, she is weak, and she reveals it all. Courageous! Risky! Read it only if you have a sturdy stomach for roller coasters.
I've always considered nurses to be the closest thing we have to secular saints. They do the work that brings life into this world and they help those who are leaving it. And nurses seem to be able to maintain personal satisfaction in doing the things that the rest of us would be unable to do. Mary Jane Nealon is one of those "saints". In her 30 or so year nursing career she has worked mostly with the dying. First with cancer and then with AIDS patients. She traveled around the country taking nursing positions in interesting places, but was primarily a nurse in the New York/New Jersey area. She now lives in Montana.
Mary Jane Nealon is a healer. In Beautiful Unbroken, we see her ministering to her patients, most of whom are dying. We see the gift of nursing: what patients teach her about life, love, relationships, family, and what's important. We see how she suffers and how poetry brings light into her life, lifts her, cradles her, and helps her to heal herself. This is something nurses rarely discuss: What do we do with the suffering we witness and the grief that settles into our own bodies? Too many of us numb out or burn out. And what about the original grief and guilt that lead so many of us into nursing? How do we understand it? How do we work our way through it? How will we know when have we given back enough? As Mary Jane Nealon writes: "What do we owe each other?" Beautiful Unbroken is a deeply stirring, deeply spiritual, deeply honest book. It is balm to a profession that risks losing its soul by emphasizing technology and evidence-based care over compassion and healing presence.
Over and over, whilst reading this book, I found myself saying "I felt that way too...I know exactly how you feel." The tears will come, as will the smiles. You did so much during your career that I found myself being a bit envious. Regarding 9-11 and your response, I sincerely hope your guilt is gone. I did not do even half of what you did in your life - for a variety of reasons, but somehow I was able to get down there and help. We need to share the responsibility...you did yours over and over and maybe my time there was my opportunity to take some of that on too. Thank you so much for writing all of this down and sharing it with the rest of us. You covered all the important things in life...family, life, death, sadness, joy, and perhaps most importantly compassion towards our fellow travelers. Thank you too for your honesty. Go in peace sister...you did a good job.
This is a wonderfully written, emotionally captivating book. Nealon's nursing career is in many ways the backstory to her life as a daughter, sister, woman and writer, but one need not be a caregiver to appreciate how Nealon's fascinating work both shaped and reflected her interactions with others. This is a story of family, of responsibility, of love, of grief, of the pain (and joy) of caring for and sometimes losing others. The trajectory of Nealon's nursing career, from pre- to post-AIDS is, in itself, intriguing, and her account of her progress as a writer is equally intersting. This is a fine book, a memorable read.
It's been several months since I read Mary Jane Nealon's book but words like compelling, poetic, head spinning, tender, terrible, lovely