Winter is Here – A Healthy Response to Life

It’s impossible to know how someone else feels – even though we lived through a similar experience.



Often in our attempts to comfort friends, we muster our courage and murmur too many words – wanting desperately to comfort.  Unfortunately, those murmurings can serve to deepen their heartache.  They can re-activate fears or re-affirm ‘aloneness’ in a world too shaken by chaos.

Even when loss experiences parallel – a parent, a child, a spouse – it’s impossible to know how another feels.  We can, however, lay claim to our own feelings, expressed simply and quietly.  We can watch for openings to support and be available, as and when needed.

What about other losses?  How would you respond to a close friend who may have a cancerous tumor growing on her one kidney?

Hold on…there’s more…  What if she was the friend who donated one of her kidneys when you needed a transplant?

Victoria C. Slotto, author of “Winter is Past” is, in fact, a survivor of a kidney transplant.  Victoria’s best friend truly did donate one of her kidneys for Victoria’s life-saving transplant.

Though a work of fiction, “Winter is Past” reveals the relational ups and downs of two women whose lives are Winterentwined by life-giving kidneys.  While we are usually given the “happy ever after” effects of transplant experiences, Victoria takes the reader into another layer; another realm of fear.

Victoria is an RN who has worked in Hospice.  Her experience in these fields contributes to healthy and functional responses to the robust roller-coaster ride taken by the characters in this story.

The main character, Claire, is medical doctor who is nicely recovering from a kidney transplant.  The donor for the kidney is her best  friend – another medical doctor. Suddenly Claire learns her friend’s healthy kidney may be growing a tumor.  Fears form as Claire faces the possible loss of a friend, then suffers guilt over having that friend’s healthy kidney and wrestles known realities about medical processes.

The Prologue portrays Dr. Claire’s fears and makes me wonder how much is Victoria’s personal journey:

“Fear has enveloped me like a subtle fragrance…

…the fear I know is subtle and pervasive.  It’s more like a slow tug – the loss of control that takes over when you’ve been caught in the arms of a riptide – or like the blindness that surrounds your car when you creep your way through a heavy downpour, alone on a deserted stretch of highway…”

If this were a book review, I’d address Claire’s responses to the challenges that arise.  Instead, I applaud Victoria for writing a story that allows her professionalism to shine through. The reactions of her characters demonstrate healthy responses to some of life’s most difficult possibilities.

Throughout this page-turning story, I didn’t find one claim that Claire knows what her friend is feeling.

It’s a refreshing read for mind, body and soul.  Thank you, Victoria.

* Victoria Slotto’s website is:   As a poet, she maintains a blog at:

35 thoughts on “Winter is Here – A Healthy Response to Life

  1. What a story this must be, Victoria must know well the feeling of surviving an operation and the gratitude to a friend whose donation can help her to live. But going that one stage further- which I hope isn’t based on her own experiences- and writing about the guilt when the donor’s life is now threatened is an amazing twist.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • The story is fiction, David – thank God. I have wondered if the story gave Paula a tiny shiver, however. The subject of transplants is so big and so full, it deems me unable to grasp any edge.

    • It’s a highly fascinating “what if…”. As writers, I’m told we’re to ask that question continuously. I’m glad she is an RN tackling such a creative possibility.

  2. The key for me has been to just shush and be present. I can never lay claim to know how someone else feels. Our own individual experiences and thoughts shape that….and I can never know. It would be presumptuous for me to think I do. Bravo to the author. Must be one heck of a read to get 2 mentions by you.

  3. I’m so surprised and humbled, Amy. Thank you so much for this. Not what I expected to read when I saw it in my inbox. You are so special. If you don’t mind, I’d like to add this to my website. Bless you. (Sorry I’m late to read…life is a bit hectic).

  4. David, that was a “What if…” not based on an actual event. However, during the writing process my donor did have an untreated infection that led to a short term issue with kidney function. I wasn’t supposed to know about it but her mother’s partner told me. It was horrible for me, not being able to talk to her or control the outcome. But it did give me a better sense of what the protagonist would feel.

  5. Hey, dang it. I tried multiple ways and means to order this book but kept getting an error 404. I tried from her website as well as from Amazon. Thought you might want to let her know. ;-/

  6. Hi Amy – this is an interesting dilemma .. and certainly Victoria’s book deserves a read .. which I hope to get to someday .. and how useful to have a professional point of view put over …

    Thanks for telling us – I’d wondered along these lines … and her thoughts, even if fictitious, will be well thought out .. cheers Hilary

    • Hi Hilary, one time on a plane, I sat beside a man who wafted fear. I couldn’t “shut him out”. Turned out he was a pilot who worked for the Airline we were using. His anxiety level was such that I only listened. As his hands gripped the arms of he seat, he tried to put out a codicil of safety for my benefit.

      I felt compassion for the man…he knew too much.

      So when I learned of Victoria’s book, I was highly curious about a medically trained person experiencing a transplant.

      The pilot may benefit from her example.

    • Hello, Jamie Friend. Always good to receive your comment. Hope you are still finding the second wind and learning more and more about its source. I hope that’s an appropriate way to send blessings for your good health.

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