The Suitcase and the Jar

Travels with a Daughter's Ashes


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.

Becky Livingston

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Becky Livingston grew up in England. After graduate work in the US, she moved to Vancouver, BC, and worked as an elementary school teacher for over 20 years.  In 2015, she completed the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive. Her work appears in the forthcoming anthology Always With Me. She currently lives in Nelson, BC. The Suitcase and the Jar is her first book.

Marketing & Publicity
  • Partnerships: North Shore Writers, MISS Foundation, BC Cancer Agency, International Brain Tumour Alliance, Hospises
  • Book Tour: Nelson, Vernon, Kelowna, Vancouver, North Vancouver
  • Media (National/Thematic): CBC, CTV, Global TV, the Province, Chatelaine, Grief Digest, West Coast Families, Living Now
  • Blurbs from David Whyte, Pico Iyer, Abigail Thomas