Staying Alive: A Love Storyby Laura B. Hayden
"Staying Alive: A Love Story" is a memoir of loss and recovery about the author's search for meaning after the untimely death of her 49-year-old husband. Told with the grit and wit of a true survivor, her and her children's experience through more than ten years may be considered a quiet triumph and touchstone for anyone who has suffered -- or will suffer -- great loss.
Called a beautiful reminder of what really matters, the book has been named one of the three top memoirs of 2011 by Reader Views and was nominated for the 2012 CSPA Book of the Year in the Christian Living category. The American Institute of Health Care Professionals recently noted, "bereavement counselors can also learn how a person finds strength in writing about his or her own loss from these stories."
- Signalman Publishing
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.31(d)
Meet the Author
Laura B. Hayden spent her childhood in Brooklyn, NY, and her teens in Enfield, CT, where she went on to teach high school and freelance for regional publications. She married, raised her daughter and son through her thirties and forties, and was widowed before she turned fifty. She completed her MFA in Writing at Western Connecticut State University in 2010.
The author's previous writing has been published by The Hartford Courant, Northeast magazine, the Journal Inquirer, Connecticut Parent, Hartford Woman, and Imprint publications . Her essay,
"Saved by the Belle" took first place in the First Annual Mark Twain Days Essay Contest on American Politics & Government, judged by Russell Baker, Garry Trudeau, and Joyce Chadwick-Joshua. Recently, her essay "Nesting" received an honorable mention from Connecticut Review, a journal published by the Connecticut State University system.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Ms. Hayden: Male, 6'1", touched.
I thought I would read this story a little at a time, but I couldn't take myself away from it once I began. This story goes straight to the heart. I finished it understanding so much about loss and about the gift of life too. I highly recommend it for any one, any age.
In STAYING ALIVE: A Love Story, Laura Hayden recalls the sequence of events that forever changed her life and the lives of her two children. Her husband was recovering from heart surgery. One moment he was doing well. Then, he was suddenly gone --- at way too young an age. As the memoir unfolds, we learn that Laura Hayden is a person of deep faith, strong family ties, and stamina. Fortunate for her, as she will need and use the depth of these gifts in the years following her husband’s death. In her recollections, we learn about her ethnic roots and we get to know her humorous and insightful husband. Through her words, I felt the loss of the relationship, the loss to her children, just the loss of him as a person. I wish I had known him. When she reflects on the “why” questions and watches for “signs” that Larry is okay --- and maybe even still with them, perhaps in a different way, we absolutely understand, and recall moments in our own lives when we were there, too. The ragged writing style in the initial chapters, whether intended as a literary device or not, draws us in. Once beyond the traumatic memories of his death, I noticed shifts in the author’s writing style, perhaps reflecting her changes in mood as she pieced the memoir together. Sometimes simple sentence construction and lean description, sometimes gritty dialogue and irreverence, sometimes crisp witty passages, sometimes eloquent reflections on the situation or the past --- her style adapts, just like she has done. Over the course of the memoir journey, the author introduces us to the people in this family’s circle of life. The memoir vignettes, some funny, some sad, some thought provoking, take place in different time periods. As a reader in the same age group, I found they took me back in time in my own life, tapping memories I hadn’t thought about in a while. There are many laugh out loud moments and the clarity of the detail in the descriptions is at times astounding. Reading Laura Hayden’s book, STAYING ALIVE… reminds me of a beautiful quote I read recently, “Life is like a piano. The white keys represent happiness, the black keys represent sadness. But, as you go through life’s journey, remember that the black keys also create music.” She has created music --- for her circle of life and for her readers.
Ok. Gtg now. Bbl.
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (12/11) While any loss of somebody dear to us is a horrible thing to endure, there are some that are simply even more difficult than the others. Losing a spouse is certainly right there at the top, particularly when the loss is sudden and at an early age. And that is precisely what happened to Laura B. Hayden, who found herself a widow even before she turned fifty. Not only did she have to raise two children alone now, but she soon faced a battle with cancer herself. Yet throughout all of that she did not lose the faith, nor focus. There was one small paragraph towards the beginning of the book that really struck a chord with me. In it, the author stated, “I have come to realize I took my 20 years together with Larry for granted. Larry didn’t.” What a powerful statement, and one that really made me stop and think about my own personal relationships and how I deal with them. I will certainly try to do my best from now on not to take anything for granted ever again. “Staying Alive: A Love Story” truly is a love story on many levels. It is undoubtedly a story of Ms. Hayden’s love for her husband, but also for her children, and for life in general. Throughout the book the reader learns about Ms. Hayden’s childhood and adolescence, and then her adult life, including her professional and personal growth. We follow her spiritual evolvement - and involvement, we see her learn and struggle and doubt and grow and stumble, but never really fall. Her memoir is a powerful mixture of emotions and tales of incredible resilience, and while it gets terribly sad at times, it never descends into whimpering or self-pity. She finds support and courage in many things, as well as many people, and she is lucky to recognize what really matters. She reminds us of the things we all know, but oftentimes forget or overlook - what really matters, or better yet, who really matters. Ms. Hayden’s writing is beautiful, and she truly connected with me as a reader. She made me think again and again, and that is something that I really cherish in a writer. I would highly recommend this book to all those who have suffered a loss of a loved one, as well as anybody who just needs reminder of how amazingly resilient we human beings can be, and how with enough resolve we actually manage to overcome even the biggest obstacles. As “Staying Alive” will remind us, we do that and more, and if we are as strong as Ms. Hayden, we can actually do it with great grace.
Easy reading and couldn't put it down.The author takes you into her family and gives you insight on handling a devastating loss. I know we have all been there at sometime in our life,however Laura Hayden reminds us to embrace each day as a gift,cherish every moment. The memories we keep are so very precious.
This book allows the reader to enter a very private world of a family that has loved, lost and came through it all with an amazing amount of strength and knowledge! The author has written this book in such a touching way that you should not purchase this book for the sole reason of losing a loved one. This book teaches us all to celebrate life. Staying Alive: A Love Story is one of the most beautiful books that I have ever read! This book not only walks you through love and tragedy but it allows the reader to feel close to the authors family and take some lessons from them. My lesson was to celebrate the small moments. These are the things that we take with us forever. Thank you for writing such a personal and compelling book.