A woman recounts her journey through grief and healing following the tragic death of her mother.
When Krohne was 14, her 40-year-old mother, Delores Mueller, died suddenly due to complications from childbirth. She left behind seven children and an alcoholic husband ill-equipped to cope without his wife. “I don’t think Dad had any idea of the work my Mom did until she wasn’t there,” the author recalls. The family muddled through the crisis. Krohne and her brothers and sisters largely went on to have successful careers and happy families. But they hadn’t healed. Pressure to remain stoic following their mother’s death caused them to hide their true feelings even as they “all crumbled inside, only the outside crust…holding up.” In her affecting debut, Krohne draws on her memories to review the events before and after her mother’s death, recalling her feelings of anger (at both her father and God) for what happened to her parent. In spare prose, meant to give “a sense of the direct way our family communicated,” she shares how, many years later, she was able to reconnect with her grief and continue the long-overdue healing process. Krohne’s decision to interview each of her six siblings, whose sometimes-contradictory memories of their mother’s passing are shared in individual chapters, results in an effective depiction of the deeply personal nature of grief. While the author occasionally veers into detailed (and not always compelling) family history, her precise recollections of growing up in rural poverty in the 1960s and 1970s give her story a strong sense of place. Although Krohne doesn’t shy away from discussing the vital role religion plays in her own life, she avoids proselytizing. What emerges is both a candid family portrait and tribute to a beloved mother and a touching account of the complicated process of working through grief, particularly the role that faith can play in healing. Includes black-and-white family photos.
A moving story of loss and recovery and a valuable resource for those in the midst of their own grief journeys.