Mountain Lion Rises is a memoir of grief and family tragedy due to the death of a child. The author struggles to recover from serious injury while parenting a challenging, traumatized adopted child. Both her husband and adoptive son were killed in the horrific accident that dramatically changed the course of all their lives. She finds some solace from her strong connection with animals, both wild and domestic. Through facets of nature, strange encounters, and the commitment of friends and community, Hart Kehoe tells the greater story of healing from trauma and single parenting during a time of crisis.
As the author describes it:
"This crisis prompted my writing of the incident: One bright, cold December Sunday in 2003, my family headed to Iowa City for Elizabeth's and Raymond's recitals. No one, however, got to hear the music.
No sooner had we gotten on the I-80 on-ramp when traffic slowed to a stop. As we pulled up with the other travelers, the unmistakable sound of air brakes and the low groan of an approaching semi's horn came from behind. Instinctively I felt compelled to move the van off the road. But I wasn't driving. I urged my husband to press on the accelerator and drive quickly away from the scene.
What I remember next: My husband slumped over, my son unnaturally slung out in the back seat, and my daughter's cries. My physical recovery began at the University of Iowa Hospital where I floated in and out of consciousness for several days. Other recoveries would stretch over years.
My husband and son now dead, I had to care for my pre-teen adoptive daughter-already traumatized from early childhood abuse and suffering from reactive attachment disorder. I also had dogs, cats, a horse, and a newly built home in the Iowa countryside near the Cedar River. I did not want to lose any of these, though it meant managing all in spite of cognitive and emotional confusion."