My husband has AIDS. I miraculously don’t.How am I going to survive? …I try to keep from screaming, “Dennis, you can’t do this to me now. I left my family, my friends, my job, pulled the kids away from their school and friends—you can’t quit on us. You can’t.” Through clenched teeth, he controls his response, “Scott, I’m tired. I’m dying.” Dennis is walking away and does nMy husband has AIDS. I miraculously don’t.How am I going to survive? …I try to keep from screaming, “Dennis, you can’t do this to me now. I left my family, my friends, my job, pulled the kids away from their school and friends—you can’t quit on us. You can’t.” Through clenched teeth, he controls his response, “Scott, I’m tired. I’m dying.” Dennis is walking away and does not sound tired; he sounds angry. “Have you not heard anything I’ve told you for the last twenty-three years? I love you; you are my life. Don’t you dare think I’m not dying here, too. You may be the one who gets buried, but I’m the one who has to figure out how to keep living. I’m dying, Dennis; I’m dying with you.” We stand there, energy spent, emotionally depleted, tears falling. I take him in my arms, and we hold on to each other as if we draw life’s breath from the other—because we do. He sits on the sofa, and I go find the Dallas phone book so I can call Restland, the place where we will bury his body.When Joan Scott Curtis was 43 years old, she found out her husband was dying of AIDS. He had been infected for thirteen years. She tested negative. None of this was possible. It was the mid 1990s. All the prejudices about AIDS are not supposed to exist anymore, but they do. Just Keep Breathing is the remarkable story about finding courage in small victories, on taking solace in helping others, and knowing that even though the major battle will be lost, the ability to live on with grace and dignity is what defines the war.“An extraordinary journey told in a spiritually insightful way that will grip your heart and your emotions and cause you to take a step back and be grateful—that in some way, you…will know yourself a little better. Patti Machin Garrett, City Commissioner, Decatur, Georgia...
|Title||:||just keep breathing|
|Number of Pages||:||561 Pages|
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just keep breathing Reviews
Joan Curtis' book is a riveting story of survival during life's most traumatic moments. Her real life story depicts how she and her family overcame the death of their precious husband and father. Due to her husband's sacrifice for Joan's brother, Denise Curtis contracted HIV/AIDS. This book shows all of us that life is not predictable, but the responses to the unknowable may be successfully navigated with faith in Christ, support of family, and genuine love from friends. Curtis' writing style is conversational, so her book is an easy read. While reading it, I can hear her simply sharing her story with a friend while sipping a cup of tea. Quite honestly, I could not put the book down upon beginning it. This engagement with the book is due to the simple style as well as the desire to know how the author thrived during life's darkest moments. The inspiration within this story makes me want to share it with everyone I know. I am left thinking, "If Joan and her kids can overcome this insurmountable obstacle then my day is a walk in the park!" Dr. Curtis' strength and courage is contagious!Buy three copies because you’ll want to give to the person who is attempting to navigate the unforeseen obstacles of life. Thank you, Joan Scott Curtis for taking the time to write your story of love and redemption.
This is not just a story of loss. This is a story of faith, empowerment, and growth. I cried during the sad parts, I smiled during the successes. I appreciated the honesty with which the author shared her experiences. Although I've never known someone who died from AIDS, or honestly, even known of someone who had it, I still feel connected to this story. Anybody who has ever watched a family member slowly suffer can relate to her story. Anybody who has ever felt like their world is crashing down on them can relate. Anybody who wonders what is next, and realizes that just pushing through is what gets things done, can relate. This incredibly powerful story will make the reader feel, and a book that can make you feel is a book worth reading.
Joan's journey with her sick husband will tear at your heart. You will be in awe of her courage and bolstered by her faith. Read this book to remind yourself to live your life to the fullest.
(nb: I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley)My mother once asked, "Who counsels the counselor? Who ministers to the minister, or nurses the nurse?" "Just Keep Breathing" deals with these questions. Author Joan Scott Curtis found herself playing these roles--and countless more--trying to hold her family together. Her resulting memoir, "Just Keep Breathing," is one of the most simultaneously heartrending and heartwarming books you will ever read.Joan Scott Curtis found out one day that her husband had AIDS. This was back in the mid-90's, when AIDS was usually a death sentence.It was for him, too."Just Keep Breathing" tells the story of her husband, Dennis, and his rapid decline from a disease so stigmatized that they only dared tell a few friends it was AIDS. Dennis Curtis always enjoyed life. All too soon, he suffered seemingly constant sickness, hospital stays, and medicines he couldn't keep down. Most of all, he suffered knowing he was leaving behind five kids and a wife, all of whom loved and depended upon him.However, the main focus is not on Dennis' illness and deterioration.This painfully honest memoir relates what Joan Scott Curtis endured to keep her family going. Of course, she was heartbroken watching her husband suffer. But even as she nursed the dying man she loved, real life continued apace. She had to bring in money. Five kids needed to eat every day. They needed rides to soccer practice and help with their homework, just like lots of normal children. On top of childhood's usual cadences, these kids knew their father was rapidly dying, and their mother had to help them cope with that, too.Mrs. Curtis is a woman of faith, and some days that was probably the only thing that kept her going--faith and friends. What makes her story even more compelling is that when she grew stronger as a person, it wasn't because she decided she'd grieved long enough, and maybe she'd like to try being stronger. She had no such luxury. Her husband died without life insurance, and the only way her family would have money to survive is if she went and earned it.The fight to juggle devastating grief and real-world necessity makes "Just Keep Breathing" an amazingly powerful book. This is obviously a survivor's tale, and surviving wasn't easy. There was no "Rocky" style montage, where Joan Scott Curtis suddenly becomes Wonder Woman. She took her first awkward steps because she had to. Gradually, she grew more confident, and by the story's end, she was running. Her unfailing courage in describing her struggles makes her triumphs sound all the sweeter. "Just Keep Breathing" will move you from tears of sadness to tears of joy, and it is one of the most absorbing and memorable books in recent memory.Oh, and when I referred to her above as "Mrs. Curtis"? That's one of her victories: it's now "Dr. Curtis." Highly Recommended
Just Keep BreathingJoan Scott Curtis"At 44 he died. She didn't." The brilliant front cover draws you in. The synopsis on the back gives you a general idea of the plot. Be prepared. This is one of those books that grabs you by the heart and keeps you thinking long after you've lingered over the very last page.I was fortunate to receive an ebook copy of this story from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. This book literally had me at the front cover. I was intrigued enough to see what it was about. After reading the first few inside paragraphs, I couldn't put the book down until I was finished, only to go back and start over at page one again. Author Joan Scott Curtis, her husband and their five children went through a horrific, traumatic and life-changing experience that only persons who have walked a similar journey can begin to understand. Beginning with her husband's diagnosis of HIV and finishing about ten years after his passing, Curtis has laid her heart on these pages in stunning detail, paying special attention to events that happened in her childrens' lives. Always thinking of how she could help others around her cope better, Curtis was selfless in seeing that each family member's needs were met and in the right way. I think that's what struck me most while reading her book. The intuitive and rational way she was able to manage her job, their finances, two moves, fights with health insurance companies, taking care of each of their children, spending quality time with her dying husband and still managing to "breathe" and move forward. Her unshakeable faith in God and her close circle of friends and family were her pillars of strength and she was smart enough to seek them out, in the midst of the chaos, to help keep her grounded so she could be strong for her children and her husband. The author could very well have, and had every right to, turn this story into an angry or woeful tale. Instead, she tackled things head-on, relying on her deep faith in God to see her through. I truly enjoyed this book and would, without hesitation, rate it a five out of five. I would highly recommend it to people who may be traveling a similar journey, grieving the loss of a loved one through incurable disease, parenting children who have lost a close loved one or those simply wanting to read a good book.
I had gotten the opportunity to hear the introductory paragraph during a writing retreat Dr. Curtis and I attended. She was in the beginning stages of writing this book. I knew it was going to be a story that many people needed to hear. I regret not reading this book when it first came out. I found myself contemplating events from the book throughout the day, and thinking to myself why?This book really hit home for several reasons. I have met and personally interacted with Dr.Curtis. As I read it wasn't just a stranger's words, but they were attached to someone who I greatly respect. There are events in people's lives that complelely change them, and I could identify with this part of the story. Dr. Curtis made the choice of not being angry, and instead chose to look forward.This story is beautifully written, because you feel like you are sitting down with Dr. Curtis, and she is telling it to you. I love how she wove in the importance of her faith. Something that many people lose when a life altering event occurs.I'm so glad I finally got the opportunity to read this book, because it reminded me of the importance of friends, family and those around us who are greatly impacted by a simple gesture, as well as a few words that keep us going. Thank you Dr. Curtis
Dr. Curtis has written a memoir that makes you laugh out loud and cry, at times simultaneously. To me, that is the mark of a great book! She tells her difficult story with grace and ease, pulling the reader to turn every page. I surmise this must have been a very difficult story to write (I can't imagine living the reality).Thank you for sharing the gift of your story with us. I am inspired and encouraged.
I started reading it at 10 pm last night and finished 2 hours and 59 minutes later. I could not put it down. Inspiring story of true love, family, friends and the importance of the support groups we all need to keep going when facing one of life's worst tragedies.