Each of us grieves in our own way. We all need time. We also need an outlet for our grief. Some hold it in, others talk it out. Still others journalize. This is the style of writing this book takes.
Grieving is a natural life process we have been told. We all will face it at one point or other in our life when we lose someone near and dear to us. It comes about in this book by the death of a loved one. Another way to look at it is a journey.
“He died the way he’d always wanted to. As anyone would want to, I’d think — sitting in his recliner with something wonderful to read. The bad part, of course, was the juxtaposition of the numbers. He had hoped to leave the confines of the earth at age 85, not 58.”
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has named for us five stages of grief all people go through. We start with denial and move to anger. From there we start bargaining. When that doesn’t work we feel depression. If we are normal we will end up with acceptance.
“Tender Grace” starts when our main character decides she is going to visit all the places she had planned to visit with her husband. Her children don’t understand. It seems to be a personal journey she must make.
She needs time to adjust. I feel the author does a good job of handling the topic of grief management.
“The truth is I know of no one who has coped worse with losing a mate than I have.”
She concludes, “There is small consolation that most people think I’m fine.
“My children know I’m not, but they are kind and understanding and patient. But even they don’t know that I feel as dead to this world as their father is.”
Another thing losing a mate does is causes a person to withdraw into themselves. “I’ve quit reading, best sellers, even Pulitzers, even the newspaper (I canceled it.).
“I’ve also quit listening to music.
“This lack of appreciation for things I once loved is beginning to define me.”
Audrey Eaton is determined to find healing. What she finds on the way is more understanding and acceptance. She starts out trying to recapture memories and ends up making new ones. This is something that must be done to complete the grief work. Early in the book she states, “I miss Tom. I also miss me.”
She finds on her journey adventure. On her stop at the Grand Canyon she learns that the mules that journey down to the canyon bottom travel on a pathway so narrow that when they rested they would face the edge. “If they do it facing the wall they can step back and fall off the edge backwards.”
“It happens,” states a fellow visitor to the canyon.
“I thought about those mules after she left. For fifteen months I’d ‘rested’ facing the dull nothingness of the cliff, disregarding the potential for danger. Better for me to overcome fear and dread instead, and face the edge of the canyon, where I could embrace beauty and avoid unnecessary catastrophe.”
In the end she comes to the realization that she will still miss Tom but she has completed her journey from death to life and was now back home.
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