I'LL LOVE YOU FOREVER, ANYWAY by Edith Kunhardt Davis


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 A raw outpouring of grief and guilt from a mother who lost her son. Twenty-seven-year-old Neddy Davis died of an undiagnosed heart infection in June 1990. This book is taken from the journal his mother kept during the first year after her loss. Divorced, with her daughter living a continent away in California and her longtime lover moving out, Davis wrote daily entries to sort out her feelings. Angry at God, angry at her son, angry at the doctors, she was also filled with guilt and shame at Neddy's charge that her smoking and drinking during pregnancy (she is a recovering alcoholic) had been to blame for his heart condition. ``Slowing down and feeling the pain was the most important lesson I learned about grieving,'' she writes. Meditation meetings, an association for bereaved parents called Compassionate Friends, and a support group for alcoholics, in addition to siblings and friends, helped her cope as she spent much of the year retracing Neddy's life. Davis looked at family photographs and drawings, revisited her son's school, interviewed his doctors, even returned to her childhood home. Before Neddy's cremated remains were buried (as he had requested), she moved with them from room to room in her apartment, the home where he grew up, talking to the ashes in the canister, recalling their time together. A successful children's book author and illustrator (Honest Abe, not reviewed), Davis eventually resumed her public activities. Her daughter came East for Christmas, Davis marked Neddy's birthday at dinner with his girlfriend, and she completed a huge, vibrantly colored painting of two rowboats, ``side by side but not touching [like] Neddy and me.'' If, as Davis says, ``letting in the grief helps to dispel it faster,'' then other grieving parents will find in this wrenching account a mirror of their mourning, if not exactly a comfort. (photos and illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: May 30th, 1995
ISBN: 1-55611-450-8
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Donald Fine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995