The Suitcase and the Jar

Travels with a Daughter's Ashes

Becky Livingston

When a brain tumour takes the life of Becky Livingston’s twenty-three-year-old daughter Rachel, her life makes an unconventional turn. Rachel, an avid traveller, had one wish: to keep exploring the world.

So, for twenty-six months Livingston travels — untethered and alone — to Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, India, England, Ireland and North America, coast to coast. In her suitcase: Rachel’s ashes, heavy but compact. As she gradually merges her daughter’s remains with the elements, Livingston learns how to forge a new sense of belonging in an unfamiliar world.

Is it reckless for a fifty-three-year-old mother to quit her job and set off overseas with no agenda or timeline? Is such a journey squandering a life, or saving it?

The Suitcase and the Jar is a profoundly moving story of a mother’s courage and resilience. It explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: how one finds the strength to reconfigure a new life by necessity. A poignant memoir, The Suitcase and the Jar is the story of a mother’s transformative journey of surrender and belonging.