Discussion Questions for The Trail to Tincup

Chapter 1

  1. What do you learn about the family in the description of their camping?
  2. Do you keep pictures or artifacts that describe the essence of a family or a group of friends?

Chapter 2

  1. How does the family carry on their early camping traditions in Shalom, the Colorado cabin?
  2. What does the author indicate that she did not yet know about end of life issues?

Chapter 3

  1. How would you describe the sister relationship as it unfolds in this chapter?
  2. Have you experienced a regression when you were in grief or trauma?
  3. What is the effect of generosity of friends during times of loss?

Chapter 4

  1. How do you react to the author’s connection to her sister’s personal objects?
  2. What are your experiences, whether positive, mixed or negative, with objects belongs to someone recently deceased?
  3. What do you think of Freud’s explanation of the process of loss? (page 97). How has your personality changed as a result of loss?

Chapter 5

  1. Discuss the emotional distance and emotional closeness of three generations of women in this chapter. How does this relate to your own generations of women?
  2. Several times in this chapter, the author describes how emotions in the present can change the memory of the past. What are some of these?  How realistic does this transformation seem to you?
  3. The author draws a comparison between mothering and helping a person die. How apt is this comparison?

Chapter 6

  1. What is your response to the author spending so much energy to set up the apartment for her father? How does hope function to help her deal with her father’s decline?
  2. Complicated relationships relating to church unfold in this chapter. How do you relate to some of these stories?
  3. Have you ever worked physically to prepare a gravesite? What have we lost in our culture since this experience is so unusual?

Chapter 7

  1. As the author sorts archives in the family cabin, she comes to some insights. What were the insights for her?
  2. What are some losses the author discovers in her archiving?

Chapter 8

  1. Reflect on your own personal responsibility for written and other remains of another person’s life, and your own.
  2. The author writes imaginary journals for her mother. How does this help her let go of her mother?

Chapter 9

  1. How did the author experience healing when she chose to close her practice?

Chapter 10

  1. How does the author compare grief work to Psyche’s tasks?
  2. How does experience with the death of intimates help the author when she thinks she might be dying?

Chapter 11

  1. How does the author note and celebrate her healing, described in this chapter?