In the face of cancer, Marsha Forest wrote to her friends, and together, they created a remarkable email track of the stresses and joys which are gathered here.
Reaching out in a time of crisis by Marsha Forest and Jack Pearpoint
Foreword: Dr. Paul Levy; Afterword: John O’Brien
ISBN 1-895418-36-4 Nov. 199
A remarkable healing journey – via E-mail. Travel with Marsha & Jack as they reach out to their circle during their crisis with cancer. A book for anyone in any crisis. The message: Reach out for support by any means!!
This is a book about communication and mutual support. It is also a book about observing mutual support in action…and the growth that can come from that.
At one level it is about a person – actually, a couple – confronting a crisis in life. On the other hand, it is about a whole circle of friends – including caring, concerned people who might not have initially called themselves “friends,” and including friends who live not just close by, but are dispersed across the face of the globe. And it is about this circle of friends all observing this crisis in the life of the couple; observing the efforts to cope with the crisis; in turn, many of them deepening their own ability to understand and cope; and then pitching in to contribute – through their contribution – to the healing process of coping and surviving. In their e-mails, Marsha and Jack show a great deal of honesty and openness. They reveal their fears (about cancer, about death), their anger (about illness, about aspects of the medical system), their need for respect of their boundaries (to allow enough sacred space for themselves), their courage (in the face of illness and fear), and their determination (to carry on their life work despite daunting challenges).
Marsha and Jack arrive at new awareness, new insights – about life, challenges, work, death, community, support, love and prayer – and they share these insights with their e-mail community. It is clear that these messages inspire others. People are inspired to give support, to search within themselves on various issues, to be open and honest, to express their needs, to assert their boundaries, to meet their challenges, to carry on work that is challenging and difficult. Above all, people were inspired to be willing to connect with others, knowing that connecting – inter-relating and mutually supporting others – brings great satisfaction in life and accomplishes great things.
This book is about giving and being given back to. It is about sharing and having that sharing reap rich rewards.
There are other books that assess and discuss the power of mutual support. But this book, Dream Catchers and Dolphins, simply and beautifully shows us mutual support as it is happening – sometimes raw, often touching, certainly powerful, frequently poignant.
The unique medium that this network of support used was e-mail communication. It could have been smoke signals or Morse code. But this book is about how people used this newer medium, e-mail, to extend their support. It worked for them, and in this widely spread community, worked beautifully.
This book reveals the ways that this medium allowed mutual sharing and mutual growth among a wide circle of people. I know that the authors hope that the current readers of these e-mail letters will benefit too, the way their network did. Given what this book contains, I believe that this is inevitable.