All was going well for character actor Beaver (featured on HBO’s Deadwood) and his wife Cecily (acting teacher, casting director, daughter of comic Don Adams) when suddenly their American Dream turned into their personal nightmare.
Jim’s father, Cecily’s father and other family members became ill. Their toddler Maddie was diagnosed as autistic. Then, just when the Beaver family was preparing to move into their new home, Cecily was diagnosed with cancer. By spring she was dead. To help cope, Jim composed thoughtful midnight e-mails for 150 family and friends. During the course of a year, his messages gained wide circulation by being forwarded to thousands of readers. Edited for this book, they form a genuine memorial: sometimes clinical, frequently sentimental, always openhearted. Early, hopeful entries tell of chemo, transfusions, blood tests, oncology consults, CT scans and MRIs. It wasn’t long before Cecily developed an inflammation surrounding her heart and pneumonia that required a ventilator. Throughout the winter of his young wife’s illness, Beaver maintained that “the fight has only begun and has a long, long way to go.” Readers, of course, know the inevitable end. After this devastating loss, Jim’s nocturnal musings turned to his daughter, who with early intervention soon shed the diagnosis of autism, along with memories of her lost mother. The author warmly acknowledges the friends, family, helpers, babysitters, companions and bringers of good thoughts, food and love. His passionate book is about how we mourn, a topic familiar sooner or later to every reader. Beaver treats it with uncommon honesty and a bit of wisdom.
A year of grief and love, forthrightly revealed.