ENDINNINGS AND BEGINNINGS: A Young Family's Experience with Death and Renewal by Sandra Hayward Albertson

ENDINNINGS AND BEGINNINGS: A Young Family's Experience with Death and Renewal

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The impact of a young father's death on his family: a widow's account that is part memoir, part disquisition, and altogether affecting. Mark Albertson was in his late Twenties when lymphatic cancer was diagnosed. Both he and wife San chose to confront the illness directly, share the bleak prognosis (five months) with loved ones, and make the best of his remaining time. Albertson recalls those months here, when friends and family helped out repeatedly and said their good-byes; she then explores the difficult aftermath: as a young widow with two preschoolers, she struggled ""to keep from getting wrinkled inside."" Both grateful and tired of being grateful, she leaned heavily on that network of family and friends, and constantly found herself short on answers for her two perplexed youngsters (""Who'll make mountains [knees to slide down] for me now that Daddy is dead?""). At each stage Albertson identifies the dynamics of dying and mourning, points out the importance of a support community, and discusses ways to encourage productive patterns of grieving. Hers is a philosophy compounded largely of Kubler-Ross and Quakerism, a soft-spoken but firm enunciation of principles that ultimately differs from Lynn Caine's (in Widow) more in tone than point of view. The result is a purposeful glimpse of a family in crisis and a lovingly composed benediction.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1980
Publisher: Random House