Sunday, December 16, 2018

Touching Memoir Focuses Not On a Mother's Grief, But On the Faith That Carried Her Through It

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

There's something about The Columbia River Gorge that just seeps into your soul.  Having been raised in the area, with its rugged beauty and postcard-worthy vistas, I have a deep, abiding love for the place of my birth.  Despite the crowds of hikers and windsurfers who flock to it every summer, the Gorge is not a super well-known tourist destination, so when it's mentioned in the news, I pay attention.  In October of 2016, the media reported the disappearance of Annie Schmidt, a 21-year-old from Utah who had been living in Portland, Oregon.  On the 16th, the nature lover had gone hiking alone in the Gorge and hadn't been seen since.  When Annie failed to meet her mother at Portland International Airport on the 19th for a planned pick-up, Michelle Schmidt grew concerned.  Then panicked.  Where was her daughter? 

What ensued was a frantic, month-long search for the missing hiker.  Because of the Gorge's rough terrain, it wasn't easy to scour the area, even with trained rock climbers, divers, and dog teams.  Using the power of the media (Annie's father is a member of the musical group The Piano Guys), the Schmidts begged for information and help.  Volunteers from the family, their church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), search and rescue groups, and more joined the effort to find Annie.  On November 11, her remains were finally discovered.  Her death was determined to be an accident, the result of a fatal fall while hiking. 
Carried by Michelle Schmidt (Annie's mother) and Angie Taylor (Michelle's sister) is the recently-published account of the tragedy.  Although the book talks about what happened to Annie, it's not really a blow-by-blow recollection of the incident.  Instead, the volume centers on Michelle's faith—how it developed in childhood, was sustained throughout adulthood, and how it carried her through the most devastating days of her life.  Schmidt is open and real, talking candidly about her struggles with motherhood, family finances, self-confidence, grief, etc.  What results is an affecting book that is uplifting, faith-promoting, and inspiring.  It's a slim volume that provides a quick read, but one that will stay with you as you contemplate your own challenges and sorrows and how God carries us through it all.  I highly recommend this tender memoir, especially if you're dealing with heartache and loss right now.  

Also, check out this beautiful, touching video made by The Piano Guys and dedicated to all who are experiencing these emotions this Christmas:
     


(Readalikes:  Reminds me of An Unseen Angel by Alissa Parker)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for subject matter that might be scary/disturbing for readers under age 12

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Carried from the generous folks at Deseret Book in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. It is difficult not to put ourselves into stories like this; losing a child is beyond my comprehension. I think faith and one's church community can be a real help as people deal with these tragedies.

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