Sharon’s Journey Home

As the Eagle Cries: Sharon’s Journey Home by Carol A. Freeman is a beautiful yet tragic story about a mother’s love for her daughter and the way events affected her and changed her own life.  This is another book I won on a Goodreads giveaway. When I received it, I discovered that Carol had personally inscribed the book, which I thought was very thoughtful and nice of her.

In the first section of this book, Carol basically gives a very brief history of Sharon’s life. She was a baby with abnormal sleeping habits when she first came home from the hospital. Carol and her husband, Ron, moved to Arizona, settling in Phoenix before Sharon was a year old. She loved cats and took swimming lessons. She was full of life and energy. She attended a private high school, but during her high school years, Sharon started to have unusual behavior. She went on to attend college, having a string of boyfriends that were either concerned about her, or very callous regarding her behavior and condition. She was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The accident happened when Sharon was 27 years old. The police had been called to the apartment of Sharon and her boyfriend due to a domestic dispute. After arriving, the police checked to see if either Sharon or her boyfriend had any outstanding warrants. Sharon’s name came up for failing to pay restitution charges, so she was taken to jail. There, she fell and hit her head on the cement floor and was then admitted to the Critical Care Unit. She was in a coma. The neurosurgeon had performed a CAT scan, and asked Carol how long Sharon had had a cyst on her brain. This was the first time anyone knew about this cyst, and immediately Carol questioned the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Carol turned to Native American spirituality as a way to deal with Sharon’s condition and her own questions. She learns about shamanic journeying and goes on a Hanbleca, or Vision Quest, four times looking for answers to specific questions. Chief Phil Crazy Bull, of the Lakota, was a mentor and teacher and Carol learned much from him. During her first two Hanbleca, Carol communicates with Sharon’s spirit and learns that she does not want to come back to her body. It is too painful and she finally feels as if she can embrace freedom. Of course, this isn’t what Carol wants to hear, but she had found her answer anyway. When Sharon doesn’t pass as expected, Carol again seeks answers. Sharon says goodbye, and Carol knows that the next time her feeding tube breaks, she and her husband won’t replace it.

When this happens, Sharon comes home and receives care from Hospice. One day, Carol knows that Sharon will not make it through another night, so she stays beside her until the end. When Sharon takes her last breath, Carol sees a small gold light arise, go down the hall in the direction of Sharon’s room, then return, then go back down the hall, then return once more. This smaller light then merges with a larger light and then disappears. At seeing this, Carol only felt a sense of peace.

Sharon’s ashes are spread in Phoenix, (the location being another question answered at a Hanbleca). A couple of months later, Carol decides to finish her four-year Hanbleca commitment. This time, she goes to seek answers to questions about her own life and future. What is her life’s purpose? What was she supposed to learn in this lifetime? On completing this quest, Carol says that she felt that she had left her grief, sorrow, and loss behind and that she had a sense of needing to move forward now.

Carol wrote Sharon’s story when the idea presented itself to her while she was journeying. She immediately thought of everything surrounding the story, such as getting published, etc., but the answer she received was “Just write it.” And she did. It’s definitely a bittersweet memoir, but very inspirational. There is meaning in the face of tragedy.

In the conclusion of the book, Carol states, “I appreciate life and those around me and always finish a conversation with “I love you” to those special people in my life.” That’s definitely something I’ll try to take with me.

There is more information on the author’s website, Also, Carol had an interview on a television talk show, “The Defining Moment,” which can be viewed here.