Bless the Birds: Living with Love in a Time of Dying

She Writes Press, April 2021


Writer Susan Tweit and her economist-turned-sculptor husband Richard Cabe had just settled into their version of a “good life” when Richard saw thousands of birds one day―harbingers of the brain cancer that would kill him two years later. This compelling and intimate memoir chronicles their journey into the end of his life, framed by their final trip together, a 4,000-mile-long delayed honeymoon road trip.

As Susan and Richard navigate the unfamiliar territory of brain cancer treatment and learn a whole new vocabulary―craniotomies, adjuvant chemotherapy, and brain geography―they also develop new routines for a mindful existence, relying on each other and their connection to nature, including the real birds Richard enjoys watching. Their determination to walk hand in hand, with open hearts, results in profound and difficult adjustments in their roles.

Bless the Birds is not a sad story. It is both prayer and love song, a guide to how to thrive in a world where all we hold dear seems to be eroding, whether simple civility and respect, our health and safety, or the Earth itself. It’s an exploration of living with love in a time of dying―whether personal or global―with humor, unflinching courage, and grace. And it is an invitation to choose to live in light of what we love, rather than what we fear.


Praise for Bless the Birds

I loved this book. I needed this book. I drank it in huge gulps. I shouted at the book, and I hugged it to my chest. Above all, I learned from this book: Courage comes only to those who are afraid. Grief comes only to those who love deeply. Birds come only to those who lift their eyes. Grace comes only to those who give themselves up for lost. Bless the Birds is a rare gift.   —Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Earth’s Wild Music

It’s such a ripe time for this book about how to meet fear, loss and sorrow with courage and grace and most importantly, love.  —Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, author of Hush

Bless the Birds is spare and precise, and full of love and resilience. It’s the story of two lovers taking a journey that none of us want to take, a journey toward parting. They walk it with eyes and hearts wide open, finding joy in their moments and showing just how much tenderness and grace are possible at life’s endings—so much love that the reader’s heart spills over with it just by accompanying them.   —Priscilla Stuckey, author of Tamed By a Bear

Once I opened Susan J. Tweit’s memoir Bless the Birds: Living with Love in a Time of Dying, I was engrossed. I couldn’t put it down. It is a beautifully written story filled with wisdom, insight, honesty, and love.    Cheryl Fallstead, Neighbors magazine

Anyone who has lived through the long and painful death of a loved one is tempted to write about it. The idea is to give death—and life—meaning. Rarely do those accounts rise to the level of poetry. Tweit’s does. Well known for her essays, Tweit turns the story of her husband, sculptor Richard Cabe, into a moving tribute. … Bless the Birds is a joyful account mixed with the agony of loss.    Sandra Dallas, Denver Post

Book groups: Download discussion questions here.