I Cried a River

Elizabeth Shreve’s breast cancer was diagnosed by the same physician who had brought her daughther and son into the world, a decade apart. After detecting a lump at a routine physical, the doctor sent Elizabeth for imaging. Never did she imagine how three little words would turn her world upside down: “You have cancer.”

In her book, “I Cried a River,” based in part on her CaringBridge site, Elizabeth wrote, “As soon as I heard the words, the ability to think clearly became a bit difficult (to say the least). Equally true … thinking clearly became a matter of life and death.” But Elizabeth’s faith, and the love and support of family, helped keep her thoughts as focused as possible over the course of cancer treatment.

Elizabeth has a doctorate in theology, and with her husband, Mike, a pastor, their faith channels through Shreve Ministries. “I am so much stronger because God was with me and my family was with me,” Elizabeth wrote. “I knew that no matter what happened, I had a strong team that would never leave me nor forsake me.”

“I Cried a River” is a reflection of family and faith. Ten chapters, each starting with the word “Tears,” follow the arc of a health journey, from “Tears of Shock” and “Tears of Sharing” to “Tears of Hope” and the final chapter, “Dry Your Tears.” In each chapter, Elizabeth intersperses details of her personal story with applicable scriptures and quotes.

The personal details are so very human, from Elizabeth explaining to her young daughter why the family’s Disney trip had to be canceled and once joking with her best friend about the weight-loss “bonus” from chemo-induced loss of appetite. She also offers concrete tips on ways to help that are truly helpful: driving, praying, just talking without mentioning cancer.

Her theological training and love of Scripture shine brightly through the book and reflect one of her favorite verses: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope,” (Jeremiah 29:11).

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—Book review by Patricia McMorrow, CaringBridge Staff