THE FIRST YEAR OF FOREVER: Surviving the Death of Our Son by B. D. Van Vechten

THE FIRST YEAR OF FOREVER: Surviving the Death of Our Son

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At 17, the author's stepson was killed in a moped accident on the Wilton, Ct., road where the family lived. This methodical, self-analytical account of the succeeding days and weeks, though somewhat plodding, could be a boon to other newly-bereaved parents who can't believe the hurt will ever lessen. The narrative takes us from the Van Vechtens' early-morning awakening and the author's identification of the body; through the planning of the funeral, and the occasion itself--with friends and relatives gathering round to provide solace; to the Van Vechtens' trip to Colorado, site of family memories, to bury the ashes; and, eventually, their turning to the Society of Compassionate Friends. The author is especially fine at charting his own ambiguous feelings: anger at Peter for his recklessness, for his newly-discovered drug paraphernalia; guilt at such thoughts about a dead child; remembrances of conversations both bitter and intimate. To add to the hurt, Van Vechten was a teacher at Peter's high school, and had to watch the senior class graduate without his son. Following that first painful year, both parents find positive aspects to relate: she has begun a Compassionate Friends group for grieving siblings, he is coming to terms with his own mortality. An honest, restrained testimonial.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Atheneum