The Afterlife, A Book Excerpt

freedomExcerpt from Parentheses, A Memoir by Fredrick Swan

“Journal entry: October 15, 2013

Late Saturday. Art show at People’s Gallery tonight. Colder mornings but still warm enough to sit outside in the afternoon. In the woods a tree frog has started croaking. Kathy is outside on the deck. She is reading a book. I have been searching through a stack of old journals and some papers. Midway through the pile, I found Kyle’s paper and the list of questions that he asked me in his interview.

The fifth question Kyle asked was, “What do you consider home?”

Kyle wrote in his report: “My grandfather considers two things as home. He said that he feels that he is home when he has a notebook to write in and anywhere that he is with my grandmother.” I’m looking out the window at Kathy. She has turned her collar up against a cooling breeze and has shifted down into the shelter of the chair. Her fingertips are at the edges of her book. I think about the book that she said that she held onto in the hospital, hoping— as she walked with the doctor and the chaplain — that it would keep her from calling out, falling down. I look at the light crossing the side of Kathy’s face. The sun is low and burning through the trees. The leaves are red, yellow, and amber. Some have fallen. Some are still reluctantly green, but all are scribbled over – like Kathy and I – with the markings and scars of the seasons.

Kathy glances up from her book and, seeing me watching her, smiles. Writing, while looking at her through the window, I feel like I am painting a portrait of my life. I look into Kathy’s eyes. Within them, I see our children, our grandchildren, our friends, my life, the past, the present, my answer to Kyle’s question…”

From Parentheses, A Memoir of My Life Before, During and After My Death,  Revised edition, April 2016, available at Amazon · click here 

 Recent Review

“…I read [Parentheses] like a leech lingering on each page, absorbing Mr. Swan narration, a rich world of description that takes in consideration all the senses. This very special quality that writers strive to develop called substantive writing is masterfully accomplished in Parentheses. This book is not just about beating death. It’s about the inner strength of our souls. It’s not about second chances. It’s about opening our eyes and seeing the light within the darkness and realizing what more can anyone want than what we already have every day of our lives. Parentheses is an inspirational book…” Dr. Veronica Esagui

Dr. Veronica Esagui is the TV talk show host of “The Authors Forum,” and theCEO of NW Writers & Publishers Assoc.