read this book

imagine this:  several days before christmas, your only daughter falls ill and lies, unresponsive, in a coma.  you and your husband leave the hospital and sit down to dinner at home.  as you finish mixing the salad, you look over to your husband who is suddenly slumped motionless on the table.  he has suffered a massive, fatal coronary event.

life changes fast.

life changes in an instant.

you sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.

so begins the book, the year of magical thinking, by joan didion.  the book chronicals the year following the death of didion’s huband, and the sudden (and ultimately fatal) illness of her only daughter.

we are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves.  as we were.  as we are no longer.  as we will one day not be at all.

grief, sorrow, madness, pain, confusion — they are all among the cast of characters in this tale of loss and healing — sprinkled in somewhere along the way, comfort. i found this book right when i needed it most.

i noticed the other day that the text on the cover of the book is black save for a few letters in blue.  together, those blue letters spell, john, didion’s husband’s name.  a fitting and beautiful tribute to a life shared, lost, and remembered.


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