Little Matches: A Memoir of Finding Light in the Dark

Little Matches: A Memoir of Finding Light in the Dark

by Maryanne O'Hara
Little Matches: A Memoir of Finding Light in the Dark

Little Matches: A Memoir of Finding Light in the Dark

by Maryanne O'Hara


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“Gripping and true in all ways. This fine, affecting memoir will stay with me for a very long time.”—Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion

“In this vividly written memoir novelist O’Hara shares a painful but ultimately beautiful account of her daughter Caitlin’s life with cystic fibrosis. . . . Her compelling story will resonate with anyone seeking a light in the darkest depths of grief.”—Library Journal

In the vein of The Year of Magical Thinking and Beautiful Boy, an emotionally raw and inspiring memoir that illuminates a mother’s grief over the loss of her adult child and considers the hope of soulful connections that transcend the boundary of life and death.

When their only child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at the age of two, Maryanne O’Hara and her husband were told that Caitlin could live a long life or be dead in a matter of months. Thirty-one years later, Caitlin lost her battle with this devastating disease following an excruciating two-year wait on the transplant list and a last-minute race to locate a pair of healthy lungs. 

The sudden spiral of events left Maryanne in an existential crisis, searching to find an answer to the eternal question: Why we are here? During her final years, Caitlin had become a source of wisdom and comfort for her mother—the partner with whom she shared a deep spiritual quest to understand what it meant to have a soul. After Caitlin’s passing, Maryanne began to notice signs—poignant, persistent synchronicities that seemed to lean toward proof of Caitlin’s enduring presence.

Weaving together a series of interconnected meditations with illuminating glimpses of life rendered via text messages, e-mails, and journal entries, Little Matches is a profound reflection on life and death, motherhood, the pain of chronic uncertainty, and finding inspiration in the unexpected sparks that light our way through the darkness.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780063027763
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/20/2021
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 1,066,605
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Maryanne O’Hara is the author of the novel Cascade. Little Matches is based on, a blog that Maryanne kept while her daughter, Caitlin, waited for a lung transplant. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Book 1 In Between

1 Knowing 3

Book 2 Life

2 Reluctant Mother 19

3 The Box 37

4 Reprieve, Denial, Reprieve 61

5 It Begins 81

6 This is Not Forever 93

7 The Balcony Summer 115

8 An Unfinished Year 127

9 Homestretch 145

10 Our Human Assumptions 161

11 "Hope" is the Thing with Feathers 183

12 All the Words 207

Book 3 Afterlife

13 "The Refuge of the Roads" 225

14 The Sound of Silence 273

15 Speak to me in Joni 289

16 Little Matches 301

17 Faith is a Choice 317

Afterword 331

Acknowledgments 343

Further Reading 347

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