I Found My Tribe

Ruth Fitzmaurice's life changed drastically when her husband, Simon, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in his early 30s. In the years since, Ruth has kept her sanity by chasing her five rambunctious children, wrangling a never-ending stream of nurses and caregivers, and jumping into the frigid Irish Sea with her two dear friends. Simon chronicled his experience of living with MND in his memoir, It's Not Yet Dark (2017). Now Ruth tells her own story of grief, motherhood and swimming in I Found My Tribe.

It unfolds in brief, luminous chapters: like the sea glass her son Arden gathers on the beach, they are fragmented, sometimes jagged, often lovely. And like her beloved waves, Ruth's narrative shifts back and forth: meeting Simon, childhood memories, early marriage, motherhood, any number of ordinary days. Interwoven is the story of the Tragic Wives' Swimming Club, Ruth's name for herself and her friends Michelle and Aifric. Nearly every day, they dive into the freezing water at Greystones, and Ruth writes about the fear and exhilaration, the way swimming gives her a brief flash of freedom from her life, and then the courage to face it.

"This is my cove and the sea is my salvation," Ruth declares. Later she admits, "The fear is still with me, but these days I jump anyway." I Found My Tribe is a slim, powerful testament to jumping in--whether to the sea or to life's crashing waves--and an urgent call to live with bravery and love. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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