An elegiac remembrance of loved ones lost.
Debut author Adams experienced two of the worst horrors that a person can face: the losses of a spouse and a child. In 1994, his wife, Teresa, was pregnant with their first child, a daughter they’d named Emily, but experienced complications that led to considerable internal bleeding. As a result, she lost the baby. Despite that harrowing trauma, Teresa went on to have three more children over the next six years—two girls and a boy. A little more than a decade after the birth of the last child, Teresa became seriously ill and was diagnosed with a bacterial infection that had aggressively spread throughout her entire body. She died in 2014, and much of Adams’ memoir touchingly recalls the wife he adored and the precious time they had together. The remainder of the book is a tale of grief and adjustment, which wasn’t an easy task for a man who was suddenly charged with raising three kids as a single parent. The author’s pain is palpable, particularly when he describes the solitude that resulted from it—the reflexive hermitage induced by mourning. He discusses the sorrow that accompanied days that were previously celebratory: birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. Overcoming his instinct toward privacy, he also relates what he considers “minor miracles”—ways in which his Christian faith was reaffirmed in small, quotidian, but marvelous ways. Some readers won’t be persuaded by his accounts of divine intervention, which he candidly recognizes: “Believers will see this series of events as miracles. Nonbelievers will chalk them up to a series of unrelated and random events that are explainable by other means.” For example, in one anecdote, the author tells of finding an unfamiliar silver cross dangling from a box of medical supplies, which he believes miraculously appeared there. From an evidentiary perspective, such conclusions fall short of persuasive. However, the story’s power doesn’t hinge at all on such persuasiveness, but rather on the author’s graceful grappling with heartache. Readers who’ve suffered similar tragedies will find particular beauty in this love letter to relatives gone too soon.
An endearing but anguished account of grief, faith, and remembrance.