Upside-Down and Backwards: A Mother's Story

 
9780979939075: Upside-Down and Backwards: A Mother's Story

Upside-Down and Backwards is the story of how a mother, who is also a chaplain, answered the call to birth a child. Having three healthy boys, Kusner believed that this child was to the a completion of a dream, the fulfillment of their family. Instead, Anna was born with genetic abnormalities and Kusner is forced to face feelings of betrayal by a God she had always trusted and promoted. Filled with honesty, humor and hope, Upside-Down and Backwards invites the reader to see what it's really like to live with a child who is different. Kusner does not shrink from the truth of her emotions towards her daughter but tells it like it is; so that we can enter into her world without the social constraints of how she is supposed to feel. Her work with dying patients gives her a unique ability to ask the forbidden questions, leading us to deeper and more authentic answers about what it means to parent a special needs child. The life lessons are for each of us, inviting us to rethink what we have seen as most important in life. It's Upside-Down and Backwards--just like Anna.

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About the Author:

Mary Kay Mary Kay Kusner was born and raised in rural Lancaster, Ohio, one of eight children in a traditional Catholic family. She attended Catholic schools throughout her education, graduating Summa Cum Laude from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, where she met, Dave, her husband of 26 years. Together, they did graduate work in Boston. Mary Kay earned a Masters degree in Pastoral Ministry with Honors from Boston College and Dave received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. In 1985, they returned to Ohio to start a family. Mary Kay served as a chaplain at the Cleveland Clinic, first in Pediatric Oncology, and then, in the establishment of their Hospice Program. In 1993, the Kusners moved with their three young sons to Iowa City, IA for Dave to become a staff member at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. Soon thereafter, Mary Kay joined Iowa City Hospice as their first chaplain. In 1999, their daughter, Anna was born with a chromosomal disorder, which led Mary Kay to begin writing as a means to understand the mystery of their fourth child. Since 2005, Mary Kay has worked at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics as the Chaplain for Palliative Care. In January 2008, Mary Kay published her first story about Anna in St. Anthony's Messenger. It was called, Pure Grace: An Extraordinary Daughter. Mary Kay's book, Upside-Down and Backwards: A Mother's Story, is the culmination of years of work, for which she has received tremendous support. Only because of others did this book come to completion, says Kusner. I hope it can help other moms of children with special needs. It's what I was looking for when Anna was born, an honest account of what it's really like to care for a child who is different. Because of Anna, Mary Kay has learned to have the courage to speak out and to not worry so much about what others might think. Mary Kay is certified to officiate at weddings through the Federation of Christian Ministers. She is also available to speak on topics such as spirituality, end of life issues, parenting a child with special needs, and the value of ritual.

Review:

If the truth will set you free, then Kusner has created a full-scale prison break. For anyone who has a child who is different in any way, Upside-Down and Backwards will simply resuscitate you. Kusner brings the ultimate antidote--she lets you know you are not alone. She has thought it and felt it, and now she has written it in a mother's story that will bring you acceptance, relief and fortitude. --Wendy Gronbeck, RN

Kusner has written a grand, true to life adventure story! From tragedy to comedy, Kusner invites us along on her family's journey in a way that speaks of ultimate trust in the goodness of human life. Her voice is strong and vulnerable, entertaining and profound and gives depth to the story she tells about finding a wise and grand teacher in her beloved daughter Anna. --Dorothy Whiston, D.Min

Kusner has written a grand, true to life adventure story! From tragedy to comedy, Kusner invites us along on her family's journey in a way that speaks of ultimate trust in the goodness of human life. Her voice is strong and vulnerable, entertaining and profound and gives depth to the story she tells about finding a wise and grand teacher in her beloved daughter Anna. --Dorothy Whiston, D.Min

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Mary Kay Kusner
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Mary Kay Kusner
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