Maralee Mason – Comfort Through Trials – Even So
Book Review of “Even So” by Local Author
This book comes along side you in the messy, in the hard, it offers a comfort through trials that only someone whos “been there” and “gets it” can offer…
Maralee Mason is quoted as saying, “Life for us was so difficult. It didn’t often make sense. It seemed so pointless and meaningless. Part of me didn’t want any part of our lives to be wasted. I needed it to not all be for nothing. I needed it to mean something. So I guess that’s what this book is, it is the meaning, the beauty that came out of the mess. Because if sharing our pain could help someone through theirs, then I knew that I had to do it.”
Meet Author Maralee Mason
Comfort through trials is something we all seek. I would love for you to get to know this local British Columbia author. I have had the privilege to get to know Maralee. And I am so excited to share her story here, in this space, for all of you. As a young girl, Maralee’s life was turned upside down with the mention of 3 devastating words ” I have Cancer”. Through all of her hardships growing up, she is still standing. Sharing her story so that maybe others could take courage and find comfort through trials if they are struggling in a season of life. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to meet Maralee along with her husband James. They are a delightful, witty, happy couple. When Maralee reached out to me about reading her book. I said yes instantly. Just knowing her, and everything she has gone through. It was enough to have me hooked. Lets jump right into her interview!
Maralee Mason, can you give us a brief into about yourself? Such as where you work, volunteer, family life and hobbies?
I am 35 years old, I grew up in the Kootenays, Castlegar BC, to be exact. I have been with my husband for 14 years. Together we have 3 beautiful kids who are, 13, 10 and 7 years old. Currently, I am the Program Director at the Kamloops Pregnancy Care Centre. I am also a certified Life Coach and Peer Support Worker. I enjoy writing, stories, poems, songs. Music is one of my favorite things, I love to sing while my husband plays his guitar.
Where do you live? What’s your favorite thing about your current residence? And have you always lived here?
I currently live in Barriere and have lived there for about 8 years. My favorite thing about living here is the close, wonderful and friendly community!
What is your favorite thing to do in your town or city?
As a family we love to attend the Annual North Thompson Fall Fair Rodeo.
What do you find most beautiful about your town of city?
The beautiful rivers and lakes that are close by!
Have you heard of Experience Nicola Valley?
Just a little bit
What prompted Maralee Mason to write such a personal and compelling book about your life?
My dad always talked about wanting to write a book about our life; the good, the bad, the struggles and the victories, the hurt and the lessons. He also wanted to see my moms journal entries typed up as well. So I thought it would make a nice Christmas present, if I wrote it myself and included my mother’s journal writings. I spent 1 year writing my families story, then I had it printed and bound. They loved it and encouraged me to work on it more and publish it myself.
Life for us was so difficult. It didn’t often make sense. It seemed so pointless and meaningless. Part of me didn’t want any part of our lives to be wasted. I needed it to not all be for nothing. I needed it to mean something. So I guess that’s what this book is, it is the meaning, the beauty that came out of the mess. Because if sharing our pain could help someone through theirs, then I knew that I had to do it.
You talk a lot about your Father and Brothers in your novel, are you all still in each others lives now?
Unfortunately I am no longer in contact with my older brother, for personal reasons. But I am still very close with my brother Matthew and my dad. They still live in the Kootenays and are happy and living their life well. They are such a huge part of my life and a big reason I was even able to write this book.
Can you provide me with a description of your book?
“Even So” is a story about a woman’s journey through cancer and the struggle of losing her-self in so many ways. And her families struggle to walk along side her on her journey. Life never seemed to be kind to the Nielsen family. We sought comfort through trials. They battled many things over the span of thirteen years. Depression, suicide attempts, accidents, deaths of loved ones, and the biggest one of all, cancer; they walked through the hottest flames and crawled through the longest valleys, but even so. Through stories, scriptures, songs, and letters from the mother’s journals, this book tells the story of a family’s struggle to cope with heartbreak and pain and of an amazing woman who deeply loved God with every breath until to her last.
How long did it take you to write your book? Do you write anywhere else? Have a blog or have more written material we can check of yours?
It took me 10 years to finish the book. It was often difficult to return to certain memories, so I often took breaks and take it slow. While working on the book I faced many obstacles that got in the way and slowed my process. For a while I was embarrassed it took me so long. But I now can see that it would be what it today if I finished sooner. Some of my favorite Chapters were written in the last 2 years.
I write weekly on the Even So Facebook Page and on my Instagram. I share my thoughts on various topics, like, pain, struggle, fear, music, values, friendship, love, grief, family etc…
You are a busy mama, what did it actually look like in your days to sit and write? Did you wake up early? Stay up late… how did you actually do this?
Well, I could not have done it without my husband. His help with the kids really made me writing this book possible. I wrote on weekends and my days off.
Do you have any advice for new authors looking to write a book?
Give yourself grace and permission to go as slow as you need.
Find someone you trust to read it and give you honest feedback and advice.
What was the biggest thing you learned over the course of making this book actually come to paper?
-I learned how important pain is. Writing the book helped me face mine. The more I faced it, the more I let myself feel it the more I began to heal.
-How powerful and important someone’s story can be.
-Growing up, in the midst of all the hurt and struggle I often found myself wishing God had given me a different life, a better story. But as I wrote, I started to realize how important beautiful my story was. And that this is my story for a reason. If I was meant to live a different one than I would have.
If your Mother was here today what are some things you wish you could talk to her about?
What do you hope telling your unique story will accomplish?
I want my story to help others embrace theirs. The possibility that maybe reading about my family facing their pain will help them find the strength to face theirs.
When we went through my mom’s sickness and all that came along with it, we often felt all alone, like no one understood, so our hope is that this book would help other know they are not alone. To try to give comfort through trials.
Who are your role models?
My mom, my dad, Brene Brown
If you could go back in time and prepare yourself for what you were about to endure 1) would you? and 2) What would you say to yourself?
I am not sure anything could prepare me for what I went through. It wouldn’t make me hurt any less, it wouldn’t make loosing my mom easier. So I guess my answer is no. But if I could go back and tell myself something, I would tell myself, to face the pain and to let myself feel it, to not run away or ignore it, to not numb it. I would warn myself that in doing so I will create more hurt for myself and make it even harder to move forward and heal.
Do you have a favorite quote, verse, mantra, creed that you live by?
“ Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it” -Proverbs 4:23
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” -1 Corinthians 13:13
“Willing to fall because I have learned how to rise” -Brene Brown
“If you numb the dark then you numb the light” -Brene Brown
Feel free to connect with Maralee on Social here is a few links of where you can find her.
If you would like to purchase a copy directly you can click on this link
Every once in a while you read a book a little out of your ordinary. One that maybe you wouldn’t normal go and grab off the bookshelf. Even So was that book for me. I think this is a crucial, comforting, book for any caregiver of someone who is battling terminal disease. This book comes along side you in the messy, in the hard, it offers a comfort through trials that only someone whos “been there” and “gets it” can offer…
“Growing up, in the midst of all the hurt and struggle I often found myself wishing God had given me a different life, a better story. But as I wrote, I started to realize how important beautiful my story was. And that this is my story for a reason, If I was meant to live a different one than I would have.” – Maralee Mason
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