May 16, 2012

Reader Radar #6

Author:      Rebecca K O'Connor
Medium:   Kindle

Grief is something that I come to both in direct and indirect contact with on an almost daily basis.  What?!  I work in administration for a hospice organization, and while I do not care directly for patient’s, I do talk to many family members and loved ones, some while the pain of a recent death is raw.  We offer bereavement counseling for those that are left behind after a death.  Some people take the journey with us; other people take their own journey.

Death has never really bothered me too much.  It’s one of the few things that I can be certain of in a world so full of uncertainty.  I have had family members and friends die – some too soon, some after a full life.  I take each death into my heart, cherish the memories and continue to live.  I don’t dwell on it, because I have seen how it can consume a person, sometimes to the point of debilitation.

One thing I have learned while working for hospice and making friends with the bereavement folks is that grief is a personal journey, there is no time limit, and there is no wrong way.  One quote they always tell us is from Robert Frost “The only way out is through”.  I remember seeing this when I first started working here and it took time to wrap my mind around it, but it makes perfect sense.  

I was reminded of that quote when I read One More Winter by Rebecca K. O’Connor this afternoon.  This was a poignant short story that gave new meaning to the personal journey of grief.  It was sad, it was painful, and it reminded me so much of so many people that I know in my life that have taken that journey through grief.  

I loved how Mary paved her own path and allowed her daughter Teresa hers, all the while worrying and wondering and being afraid to take that journey with her.  I loved how the lake and the road were symbolic of her epic quest for closure and peace.  I felt sorrow for the precious dogs that were drawn to that intrepid road, but felt peace from Mary’s love and compassion.   

Mary and Teresa’s loss was unique, and while due to the circumstances it was heartbreaking, Mary’s journey was beautiful.  When Mary learned of T’s journey, they were able to find that they could walk through the end of their grief together.

One More Winter is most deserving of this week’s Reader Radar, and I hope to read more works by Ms. O’Connor in the future.

“The only way out is through” now sits on my desk as a reminder of all the Mary’s and Teresa’s that pass through my life daily.

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