Too many mommas I know, in real life and online, are dealing with the heartbreak that comes with grieving a child. For some, it’s a child they don’t know yet. For others, it’s a child they’ve had to say goodbye to far too soon. But there’s another momma that grieves, who often gets lost between the not-here-yet and the not-here-now. It’s the momma mourning the child that’s lost in the moment of diagnosis and disability.
Gillian Marchenko’s memoir, Sun Shine Down, is an honest and poignant tale of her life shattered by Down syndrome, and the hope that emerged out of her brokenness. Gillian’s third daughter Polly was delivered via c-section in Ukraine. Days later they were told Polly had Down syndrome, and their whole life turned inside out. This book is Gillian finding home.
Gillian writes with the kind of imagery that allows you to stand over the doctor’s shoulder in her hospital room, or between the developmental and speech therapist at Early Intervention meetings, or beside her as she struggled to regain her footing as a mom post diagnosis. Gillian is bold and courageous and brave for telling her story so openly, so honestly, so fully and allowing readers to journey with her to the place she eventually found peace and contentment and joy.
My own story is very different from Gillian’s, and yet I have been profoundly inspired by her tenacity to push through what is foreign, to work out what is hard, and to embrace with joy what cannot be changed. We all struggle with foreign and hard and unchangeable, but that’s what life is made of. The joy is in discovering the beauty running through it all.
Thank you Gillian, for baring your heart, for being gutsy enough to say it like it is, and for showing us what honest hope looks like through the pages of this book. I’m honored I could review it.
About the Author
Gillian Marchenko is an author and national speaker who lives in Chicago with her husband Sergei and four daughters. Her book, Sun Shine Down, a memoir, published with T. S. Poetry Press in the fall of 2013.
She writes and speaks about parenting kids with Down syndrome, faith, depression, imperfection, and adoption. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Chicago Parent, Thriving Family, Gifted for Leadership, Literary Mama, Today’s Christian Woman, MomSense Magazine, Charlottesville Family, EFCA Today, and the Tri-City Record.
Gillian says the world is full of people who seem to have it all together. She speaks for the rest of us. You can follow Gillian and her family at www.gillianmarchenko.com.