In her affecting debut memoir, LaFontaine asserts that “love doesn’t end when a loved one dies,” but can, through friends and with grace, become deeper and more sacred.
The author and her husband, Don LaFontaine, came from vastly different backgrounds, but both had powerful voices. She performed her first church solo at the age of 3 and later sang in the Miss America pageant as Miss Louisiana—the first woman of color to hold that title. He was the voice behind the famous movie trailer introduction, “In a world,” among other catchphrases; his voice work appeared in more than 5,000 movie trailers, as well as in numerous television shows and commercials. Not long after Nita and Don met in Los Angeles in the 1980s, they merged into “one motion, one word, ‘DonandNita.’ ” After 20 years of marriage, with three beautiful daughters, their dream life was interrupted when Don was diagnosed with lung cancer. In the memoir, Don undergoes chemo and fights the disease in the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai, cracking jokes all the while, as the author flashes back to her childhood and highlights from the life she and Don shared. As a one-time ICU nurse, the author knows her way around a hospital, its confounding instruments and the sudden ailments of the seriously ill. After Don passed away, Nita’s heart broke, but she continued to move forward, staying positive for her daughters, who gave her strength in return. LaFontaine shares her unwavering belief in prayer, reprinting email exchanges she’s had with her “Prayer Village” of friends and family. She describes a sudden preponderance of orange butterflies fluttering around her and her daughter, Skye, as “orange kisses from Don” and describes how she lightened her grief by accepting the “hand of grace.” One of Don’s refrains was “Make a mark, not a scar.” In the author’s tender recollections, she makes her mark by bravely exposing the scars of her mourning.
A poetic love letter and a uplifting account of healing.