A book that explores our own resilience in the midst of one of the most distressful forms of human suffering, the death of a child. Because children aren't supposed to die, the loss is not only painful but profoundly disorienting. Finkbeiner, whose only child died in 1987, refers to her own experience and the experience of others to show that while bereaved parents can never really let go, they can and do recover, often developing a new appreciation for their own lives. Says one parent: "You just don't treat life as lightly, and if you don't treat things lightly, they do become richer."
From Publishers Weekly
Finkbeiner, a medical and science writer in Baltimore, lost her son, T.C. (Thomas Carl), in 1987 in a train wreck, when he was 18. Determined to learn what researchers had to say about the long-term effects on parents of a child's death, she found that data on the subject was sparse and focused mainly on recovery steps taken immediately after the death. So she placed an ad in the newsletter of a local chapter of Compassionate Friends, a self-help organization for bereaved parents. She then interviewed respondents who had lost one (or more) offspring, stipulating that the death(s) had to have occurred at least five years before the interview. She met individually with 30 parents: Did they feel guilty? Did they feel better over time? Did their relationship to God change? The two main things she learned are that a child's death is disorienting indefinitely and letting go of a child is impossible. The author makes no claims to scientific rigor-interviewees were self-selected by virtue of having answered the author's ad. Those who have lost a child will find corroboration of many of their feelings in this enlightening and heartrending study.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.