Sunday, March 05, 2006

This is my third blog for the year 2006

High on the New York Times bestselling book list is a small excellent portrait of a loss. The writer is Joan Didion who has written many books, but never before one quite like this.

"Life changes fast.
Life changes in an instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends."

These words are her introduction to the most traumatic event most of us experience: loss of the person who means the most to us. With Ms. Didion it was a shockingly rapid change. The man who had been her husband and partner in all things, for over forty years, John Gregory Dunne, died of a massive heart attack as she was in the kitchen preparing their evening meal.

The book is titled "The Year of Magical Thinking," and Ms. Didion takes us through the events which followed her husband's death and her thinking and acting in what she terms, Magical Thinking. If one has had such a loss in one's life it will be a reading experience to confirm what one has already known deep down about this profound change: life is never the same, but neither is the person who is coping with the death of a loved one.

She goes through the bargaining stage; and the denial and a near acceptance, but never quite a letting go of the past. The beauty of the book is her ability to let the reader go with her on this unwanted journey which life hands to us. One of the last lines of the book is from a quote her husband had told her years before, "You have to go with the change..." She remembers that he told her that and she treasures all that the marriage and partnership had given to her.


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