Warrior Mother is the true story of a mother’s fierce love and determination, and her willingness to go outside the bounds of the ordinary when two of her three adult children are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases. When Sheila Collins’s best friend, dying of breast cancer, asked her to accompany her through what turned out to be the last fourteen days of her life, she didn’t know that the experience was preparing her for what lay ahead with her own children. In the years that followed, Collins had to face both her son’s diagnosis with AIDS and her daughter’s diagnosis with breast cancer. Warrior Mother documents how she faces these challenges and the issues accompanying them—from learning to be the mother of a gay son to visiting a healer in Brazil on her daughter’s behalf when she decides on bone marrow transplant treatment. Experience as a professional social worker and family therapist doesn’t always help Collins to cope with her children’s illnesses—but her relationship with improvisational song, dance, storytelling, and women’s spirituality rituals carries her through. Warrior Mother follows Collins’s family through memorials and celebrations of lives well lived, all the while exploring the impact of grief on those left behind and the rituals that help them heal.
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