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Only Spring: On Mourning the Death of My Son Paperback – August 16, 2005

4.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Psychiatrist Livingston's earlier journals of the death from leukemia of his six-year-old son, Lucas, were first published in the San Francisco Chronicle's Image magazine, where they evoked wide and warm response. In those writings, he detailed the grueling regimen (including a bone-marrow transplant from the author) that Lucas endured, bequeathing to the family a lesson about the power of the human spirit. The current journal details the depth of Livingston's struggle with the loss of Lucas and the earlier suicide of an older son, and with his rage at the medical technology that failed his child. A poignant account of an anguishing life-changing experience.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gordon Livingston introduces this brutally honest diary as the story of the life and death of his son. It is that, focusing on Livingston's experience of losing his six-year-old son, Lucas, to leukemia; it is also an account of a process of mourning permeated by his gradual realization that "love is not lost even in death." The book focuses almost entirely on the experience of Lucas' death, but the suicide of Livingston's oldest son, Andrew, the previous year, is never far below the surface. It is to Livingston's credit that he speaks not in terms of a triumph over death but of a confidence, gradually won, that love is not lost. This sets the book apart from much of the popular literature of hope and makes it an important contribution to the tradition of tragedy that moves us to humanity in the embrace of mortality. Steve Schroeder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569243514
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569243510
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,111,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By TG on December 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
Sad book, but helped me see what it is that is important in life.
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Gordon Livingston writes with clarity and honesty about the illness and death of his beloved youngest son, and the aftermath he and his family endured. The book faithfully captures the roller coaster of emotions that accompany the trajectory of illness, as well as the benumbed unreality of such a shocking loss when death occurs. A beautifully brave account of moving into and through a fog of despair, doubt, and guilt, eventually giving way to a ray of hope and light.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book three years after the death of my son from terminal brain cancer, just a month shy of his 19th birthday. We knew at his diagnosis that he had two years at most; he lived about 15 months.

Gordon Livingston has eloquently and without reserve put a voice to the feeling of complete and utter helplessness a parent feels when they know their child will die young, and before the parent. That knowledge brings despair but at the same time heightens the awareness of how short life really is, and that it is to be enjoyed every moment and that the negative should not be dwelled upon. This book brought me peace and helped me understand that my emotions during my son's illness and after his death, were not unique to me, but very normal.
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This book was very well written and very moving. I liked that it was written from the perspective of a father. After reading many grief books I found this to be very different. It's a book I will share with other parents who have lost a child, especially through leukemia.
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Very touching account of his grief and how he handled it. Helpful for those who have also lost a child
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read all of Dr. Livingston's books and loved them and this one did not disappoint. He tells it like is with out sugar coating that life will be all right after you lose someone who is your whole world. My husband died 8 years ago and I am still active in life, but the pain of missing him will never go away. Dr. L. gets that.
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By boxcpa on October 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gordon Livingston has instant credibility based on the early deaths of his two sons. Playing a role in doing what a parent thinks is best for a child, relying on doctors opinions, can all be real questions for those with children who might have a potentially terminal disease. Heartbreaking, but fantastic writing.
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I had to put this down every few pages - it is heartbreaking to read. That Dr. Livingston could go thru such torment and still find the strength to write this and therefore to help so many other bereaved just amazes me.
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