In this debut memoir, a mother relates the painful loss of her son and how she learned to cope with it.
Malin, a freelance writer who ordinarily focuses on modern-day parenting, here tackles the most difficult subject of all: the death of a child. Her son, Steven, was tragically killed in a train accident, and she recounts the emotional pummeling that she and her family endured in the aftermath, as well as her method for finally achieving peace. Speaking directly to anyone who’s suffered a similar tragedy, Malin writes, “[Y]ou have undoubtedly already heard the well-meaning comments from well-meaning friends and family who tell you that you will survive, go on with your life, and get over this loss one day. I vehemently disagree….Instead, I am a strong proponent of hanging on.” This is the main engine of Malin’s work: She doesn’t show how she overcame the loss of a child but instead shows how she found comforting, powerful ways to keep Steven a part of her life. “We could find him any day, any minute if we just looked for something that reminded us of him,” she writes. She begins her story with the trauma of the emergency room and then continues to describe the devastating nights and weeks that followed, eventually telling of her family’s decision to look for signs from Steven. Through it all, Malin writes with incredible clarity and relates tremendously heavy emotions quite deftly. At her son’s wake, for example, her thoughts succinctly convey the turmoil she felt inside as she struggled to preserve an outward strength: “Thank you for coming to my son’s wake. Did I tell you he was killed? I’d never let my child die. A train killed him. I’m so sorry I couldn’t save him. Thank you for coming. Next.” This and other similar moments make the author’s account feel honest above all else, and this quality will make her feelings relatable for readers, even if they haven’t gone through the same immense tragedy.
A powerful, hopeful examination of one woman’s unique approach to grief.