Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup

Here If You Need Me: A True Story
Here If You Need Me: A True Story by Kate Braestrup

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book—the memoir of a Unitarian Universalist chaplain for game wardens in Maine—was a quick read and just what I needed. It reminded me of my work as a doula, how most of it was just being there while my clients’ worlds changed completely.

A bit that I loved:

“I am a transitional love object, an objet d’amour…what a strange privilege to be so used.

The lieutenant will muse, as we drive south together, ‘It’s like standing right on the hinge of someone’s life. You know? Right there on the hinge, while the whole world swings around, and that widow, or that mother or dad’s life is suddenly completely different, permanently different.'” (p 96-97)

As I read about Braestrup embracing and physically bracing people in joy or grief depending on the news she had to deliver, I think of the time a laboring mother put her arms around my neck and used my body to support her weight through a contraction. We danced there together on the hinge of her life, shifting our weight from foot to foot, and I felt blessed to be there with her.

Now I need to write a thank-you note to the friend who handed this book directly to me at the church Book Sale instead of putting it in the “Memoirs” section to sell.

The only complaint I have with this book is the three typos I found in the last chapter, which made for a clunky ending to an otherwise exquisite book.

One more line that I love, which refers to a detective and breastfeeding mother who solved a homicide:

“If we were a sensible culture, little girls would play with Anna Love action figures, badge in one hand, breast pump in the other.”(p 177)


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