All sorts of “magical thinking” can also come to the rescue at these times, as though the human psyche needs a special soothing syrup for the loss of a loved one. Or do we actually awaken — to a deeper realization, a farther vision, and the sense that we are greater and more remarkable than we believe?
I think Maryanne was right in a way. She was Jesus for herself; she saved herself through her writing. And, as she states in another passage, “Maybe Sam (John) is Jesus.” For her, he also was. She resurrected herself, and the sense that he was always nearby obviously sustained her.
I wish the names had not been changed; I personally prefer that nonfiction be rooted in the truth as much as possible. Yet one quickly becomes accustomed to the “undercover names.” There are some infelicitous or rough sentences, such as “Snooze was hit” on Maryanne’s alarm clock the third time she balked at getting up and writing on that final morning. One doesn’t wish to spend much time, though, picking over a book that tells so much, so honestly and without leaving out anything — even the wildest thought.
Maryanne/Adri goes as far as she can to the underworld with her lost lover and returns like Persephone when the year turns. She will never be the same, but she has begun to enable herself as a writer; unlike many who would probably be lost to grief, she has chosen to be a creative being to celebrate the life of Sam/John as well as her own true self.
I honor this woman, with whom I have communicated. I can attest that she is remarkably intelligent, as her husband said. She seems to feel somehow liberated from the exigencies of time and space, since they have done their worst. And, she has achieved a great deal other than the not inconsiderable job of writing a book. Twenty percent of the sales from the book go to the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund, which educates the public about workplace safety for workers in emergency services, and that it is a “shared responsibility.” More information about this important issue is available at jpmf.ca.
There is much more that I could say about this book, but I suggest that if it is of interest to you — if you have recently lost someone, particularly — get A Widow’s Awakening and read it. It is different than many books I have read on this topic in an elusive way; it reveals more and more of the person who wrote it as it goes on. Maryanne says that it is “how I made sense of the unacceptable.” In this way, she also gives the reader an idea of how to do the same, when this becomes necessary.