The Long Awakening: A Memoir
An Amazon and Denver Post Bestseller
The riveting true story of a life-threatening coma, a miraculous awakening, and the long quest to regain what was lost.
With visceral images and richly layered storytelling, Lindsey O’Connor vividly tells the poignant true story of reentering the world she left. Underlying this life and death struggle is a story of lost and found love, the effort to make sense of life-altering events, and the continuing search for self. This moving memoir paints a powerful picture of pain, beauty, and the unsurpassable gift of finally knowing who you are.
The day our baby came into the world was the day I left. A day that began all smiles and excitement and anticipation and joy ended with running and panic and blood and tears. And then coma.
I lay suspended in the deep, my newborn unknown. Nothingness. Layers where dark pulled from below, light called from above, and me, trapped in between, longing to break the surface.
Forty-seven days later when I first saw my husband's face leaning close to me, I knew where, and who, I was. But other things took much longer to know. Learning to restitch life--and love--when everything's changed, and finding who we are afterward, can be the longest journey of all.
I'm Lindsey O'Connor, and this is the story of my long awakening.
A snapshot of "Caroline Therapy"... baby and mom in ICU.
“...honest, lyrical, and riveting”
— Publishers Weekly
“The Long Awakening is beautifully, creatively, written, and O'Connor's tale is stunningly complex, as she narrates her own inner consciousness (or lack of it, as the case may be)…This is an intimate story, lyrical, honest, scary at times. There is illness, danger, medicine, science, doubt, faith, friendship, anguish and hope... a glimpse into the hard lives some endure, and the brave and good way they emerge towards wholeness... What excellent writing by such a good, good writer, who gently frames her own struggles by other, equally moving stories. As John Biewen (of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University) writes, The Long Awakening "glimmers with a keen understanding of what matters." Yes!
—Hearts and Minds Books
"...But the tale in The Long Awakening is not just of O’Connor’s own recovery: it is enmeshed with the story of her daughter, Caroline. When O’Connor wakes without a bond to her daughter, her first response is guilt. Her grief on being discharged from the hospital is not merely that she comes home “old,” as she calls it: shuffling behind a walker, tied to her portage oxygen, nauseated and exhausted. It’s that she cannot take care of her baby, and even more, that she’s not in love with that baby. She hasn’t just lost time and memory: she’s lost her love for her child...Learning how to handle a fork again is one thing: learning how to fall in love with a child is entirely different...The Long Awakening reminded me of what I was fortunate enough not to lose: time, love, my child…my life."
—Eloisa James, New York Times–bestselling author, in Barnes & Noble Review
"A must read for all hospital employees! As a Respiratory Therapist who witnesses people going through similar circumstances, this book is a must read! The insight into hers as well as her families side of the bed is educational for those who walk around it daily." —Carol Hardisty, respiratory therapist.
"Literary Art, Storytelling Genius. Reading O'Connor's memoir felt akin to allowing myself a slow, deliberate, breathtaking look at a piece of art. With each page, I saw new angles, new points of tension and heartache. But, as I stepped back to take in the entire view, the predominant thread was one of hope. The beauty of family. The reality of the Divine. The breath of human connection. And the worthiness of a single life, lifted up. I will not be the same." —Michele Cushatt, author of Undone.