What We Are Given

Many thanks to Ginosko Literary Magazine for publishing the “What We Are Given” in their latest issue. You will find this essay on page 122 of their PDF file. It a deeply personal essay about the years my partner’s mother lived with us.

What We Are Given


Published by

Jean Ryan

Jean Ryan, a native Vermonter, lives in Lillian, Alabama. Her stories and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. She has also published a novel, LOST SISTER. Her short story collections, SURVIVAL SKILLS and LOVERS AND LONERS, are available online. STRANGE COMPANY, a collection of short nature essays, is available in paperback as well as digital and audio editions.

6 thoughts on “What We Are Given

  1. Congratulations, Jean! I’ve downloaded the issue and raced to read your story which made me cry. Again. And then I skipped around as digital copies allow, but I did contact the Editor and requested if I may purchase a hard copy (and that lovely watercolor cover!). I’m an old dog and like to hold the paper I’m reading. Sue me!
    What We Are Given, the title, has such a liturgical bent. ‘This is the day we are given; rejoice!, and be glad in it.” Reading the story called up so many memories and guided me through my own grief of a parent who was stolen by dementia. But May was tough that much is clear. What You & Cindy so graciously did having May live with you and the caregiving even thereafter post-move to the assisted living facility proves You & Cindy are Angels on this Earth. Simply that and so much more. Thank you for publishing this story and letting others see into the chasm of that relationship.

  2. Thank you, my distant, but dear friend.

    This purged me… broke the dam, again. Your insights are beautiful. Your courage to share is remarkable and so admirable.

    Love to you and Cindy.

    And to May, wherever she may be.



  3. Hi, Jean.

    More gratitude for your immense skill and the sharing of it is pouring in. I forwarded this piece to a friend and brand-new widow.

    She asked me to thank you specifically. Yes! Over and over again. Thank you.

    Here are Carol’s words:

    “viki this is beautiful and im holding onto what death has taught me . it wont hurt to be kind, forgiving, a willing listener. Ill have to remind myself often though! thanks for sending this. How can i send it around to others. it’s perfect. Tell your friend. love carol it’s hot out. am home and feeling better than when I left. Presby message today was: God has faith in you. A reversal of Have faith in God. I rather like this new to me version, it wont hurt to repeat it a few times a day.

    Carol Rose”


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