In this debut memoir made up of personal journal entries, Canadian author Fish tells of his journey of grief.
Fish begins his journal in November 2000, shortly after Lois, his wife of 25 years, died from cancer. For three years, he turned to his journal often, then gradually less often, as he coped with his devastating loss. Here he provides 236 journal pages of intense emotion, inside jokes and heartfelt amateur poetry. His prose is everything diary writing should be—honest, sloppy and self-aware, sometimes in italics, with short parenthetical explanations along the way: “Here was me (not knowing any better), saying it’s okay, we can try again. What insensitive people we (male species) are.” Sometimes he writes from the perspective of his late wife, and at other times, he addresses the reader directly, as though he’d always intended to share his journals. Although sometimes convoluted, these pages provide an inside look at a brave man’s heart-wrenching grief process: “I miss your look, your smile, your sense of humor. I just miss you so terribly much. Why? Because you were you, and I loved you for that.” Even for readers who haven’t yet experienced great loss, Fish’s insights into mourning are valuable and instructive: “On Friday, I went to Tapastree with Terri and John. Learnt that I have to make sure I arrive late. It is awful sitting there by yourself, waiting.” His experiences motivate him to help other people learn how to grieve, and he begins a journey into Canada’s health care system, advocating for advancements in palliative care. Readers will likely appreciate Fish’s generosity of spirit, with others and with himself, which allowed him to begin the healing process.
A memoir with noble intentions, if occasionally awkward execution.