What if something were to happen to your partner? Each day there are lives lost and whether it is due to long-term illness such as Cancer, or a sudden tragedy (accident, heart-attack, or suicide) it devastates those left behind. Those partners who must wake each day with an empty space beside them where a loved one ought to be. Those same partners who usually go through life as a team and are now finding themselves with the lone responsibility for everything. How would it affect you?
Many of us are blessed to not know the answer to that question and would rather not consider it, if we are honest. In After Life, After You, the author, along with a few contributors, have taken the time to share their experiences with the death of a spouse. They share various moments in their lives as they struggle with the loss and the unavoidable change that comes with it.
When I first picked up this book to read it, I had the gut instinct that we all get when faced with the subject of death and loss. I wanted to put the book down, get the subject as far from me as I could. Still, I picked it up and started to turn the pages and couldn't help but be drawn in. How can a reader not become invested in a book where the writers open up their very hearts and souls, sharing their personal tales of love, grief and hope.
When a person is a public figure, we learn how a spouse can be affected by those who claim a personal relationship where none existed, simply for the sake of fame and fortune and without thought for the impact on the deceased's family.
When a person takes their own life, whatever the method, we learn how the spouse must face so many questions they will never find answers for. So much blame is abundantly cast about and the surviving spouse must live with the stigma that accompanies suicide. We learn that sometimes, friends and family can be such a pillar of strength for those left behind but more often than not, their 'help' can cause further pain and resentment.
Each person has such a different response to the death of their loved one, as we would expect. Each of these three men and seven women discuss candidly how they felt for their partners, how they came to terms with the loss, and the struggle to rebuild their fractured lives in the hope that they can once more feel whole and find happiness in life once again.
I'd encourage everyone to read this book if I could. I haven't often read books on this subject (the last one that comes to mind was The Farewell Chronicles by Anneli Rufus) but this is one of those books that approaches the subject openly, honestly, and with a brilliant message. I wish I could hug each of these people and offer them my thanks for having the courage to share their personal tragedies.
Extremely moving and definitely a keeper!
by S.K. Reid Jane Curry Publishing, Australia, 244 pages, $24.95 RRP, 2014
The book A year of medical thinking covers one year of a woman’s journey as she copes with life-challenging situations.
S.K. Reid introduces the reader to the intricacies of IVF treatment and shares her joy and excitement when falling pregnant. She also shares her deepest emotions from the disappointments of failing treatments to the grief of losing her baby.
Just at a point where she is trying to come to terms with this loss, she is diagnosed with breast cancer. She describes her own physical and emotional rollercoaster facing this potentially life-threatening illness, which is deemed to take away her deepest wish: to become a mother.
This book will appeal to anyone who has faced similar experiences. It certainly touches on medical issues like diagnosis and treatments, but it still is a personal, heartfelt account of someone trying to cope with very taxing life circumstances rather than a clinical matter-of-fact report.
The book is divided into chapters named after the seasons of the year.
Seasons are often associated with distinct feelings and moods and the author has successfully brought that together to accentuate her life’s events. As the seasons change, so does she as she is forced to face and reflect on the deeper meaning of life. The book shows that as one season rolls into the next, life goes on as well and the reader gets to share uplifting anecdotes as well as heartbreaking episodes. The book is written in a very compelling way. It is a story about self-discovery, courage, inner strength and resilience.
Barbara Hasenoehrl, Review & Survey Group member.