Sunday, February 1, 2009


Time heals…she is in a better place…she is still with you…you should exercise every day…there, now, don’t you feel better. No, I don’t, and neither do you if you have lost a child. Our grief is with us always and there is nothing that will make it go away or make us forget. We will always be devastated, but eventually we learn to live again.

In her newest book, Comfort, Ann Hood takes us on a journey with her 5-year-old daughter, Grace, who died suddenly from strep throat, a journey for Hood that will no doubt last a lifetime. She pours out her heart to us, tells us exactly how she feels and what she thinks of all the platitudes from friends and family who have no clue. Hood searched for comfort and eventually found it at a time when none seemed possible. What she didn’t realize was how grief and unforgettable love would change her life and give her hope once again.

The simplistic way she shows her courage by taking up the pen once again and putting these thoughts into words to reveal her climb out of the abyss, is pure magic.

I felt myself agreeing with everything she said and did. I also felt myself going back in time and thinking about how I handled various situations. I remember a friend saying to me, with a catch in her throat, a few months after my daughter died, “How are you doing?” “I’m fine,” I answered immediately without even thinking about what she said. She looked at me sternly. “You are not fine, and don’t tell me you are,” she admonished me. I looked at her, and with the realization of someone who had just made a rote statement without even thinking, said, “You’re right; I’m not fine.” From that moment on, when asked that question by others, my response has always been, “I’m doing the best I can at the moment.” With Hood you can identify with her joys and her sorrows and, in the end, you want to stand up and cheer.

As Hood suggests, one cannot make sense out of losing a child and writing about it. Losing a child is incomprehensible. She and I can try to help bereaved parents in many ways by offering advice or techniques that have been tried, but in the end, it is hard to imagine that we have done any good. Hopefully, we have, but the reality is that the child is dead and nothing we write about or do can change that.

I, like Hood, can only say that someday, be it 1 year, 3 years, 5 years or longer, parents will be able to move on, but their hearts will always be broken and there will be times when the grief is overwhelming. Read this book to realize you are not alone in what you feel, say or do after losing a child.

1 comment:

  1. This blog has been a great help to me in dealing with the death of our friend's two year old daughter. Thank you. I will be getting the book you reviewed. I am convinced that faith in God is the best way out of the abyss, and for that reason I believe He often uses things non-religious to comfort the grieving.