A grieving mother discovers healing and light in the darkness.
In April 2003, Dupont received the telephone call that is a parent’s worst nightmare: Her 21-year-old son, André, had taken his own life. Dupont initially experienced a lot of anger. Her son had suffered from depression, as she had for many years. But why, she wondered, didn’t André try to fight his illness? One year later, while searching for André’s graduation pictures, Dupont found a story called “Lost in the Storm,” which he had written and illustrated when he was in second grade. Young André had imagined a ghost “made of light” who helped him find his way back home, and it’s that symbol of light that became Dupont’s catalyst for healing and the inspiration for her writing. André’s original story, written in French, is included in the book with English subtitles. At first glance, the imaginative drawings give Dupont’s slim offering the appearance of a children’s book—and it could be read to older children with some adult guidance—but the voice will resonate more with mothers. Her straightforward prose—“André is no longer physically present but he is certainly present in my heart. He continues to inspire me” —creates a sense of intimacy and suits the subject. She assembles an affecting patchwork of memories about André, including color photographs, as well as sympathy cards and drawings made by children at the school where he worked. The author adds a short list of resources for suicide prevention (mostly in Canada), but the primary focus is on her experience. Dupont extends the metaphor of hope and light with a picture of André juggling fire, which for Dupont, is a symbol of “healing and renewal.”
May offer some solace to parents who suffer the pain of a child’s suicide.