The other night I happened across the movie 27 Dresses. I loved that movie the first time I saw it. I have fond memories, but this time through I quickly found I was annoyed at the lead character so I turned it off. My husband said he noticed “that” about me. Per usual, I had no idea what he was talking about.
He went on to explain that he had noticed I have low tolerance for stories-movie or book- where the character blames (consciously or not) the death of a parent for his or her weaknesses or mistakes. In the movie 27 Dresses, the woman is obsessed with weddings and love because her mother died. I am not sure how that works, but I guess her parents had a perfect love and she was trying to replicate it. Puh-lease. I never noticed before, but my husband is right-I have very little tolerance for the death-victim role. When parents die, it is tragic and horrible and sometimes impossible to completely recover from. I have an unending amount of compassion for that. But the death of a parent is not an excuse to stop living, moving forward, focusing outward or working on improving yourself.
Grieving and growing are not mutually exclusive.
That might make me sound cold-hearted, but as a parent-less 30-something, I’m giving myself this one.
While I find it hard to tolerate people using parental death as an excuse, I am fascinated with people exploring what death does to the living. I love to read or listen to how other people deal with it themselves. As you know from previous posts, I am a “why” so I am constantly searching for why people do what they do.
You might not find it surprising then that I chose to read a book by a woman who has written not one, but two books about surviving the death of her mother when she was a teen. Hope Edelman has written both Motherless Mothers and Motherless Daughters. Shockingly, I haven’t read either. I have picked up both at different times in my life but have never committed to either.
When I was given the chance to read Ms. Edelman’s newest book The Possibility of Everything, I jumped on it not only because I recognized her name from her other two books, but because the topic of this one was faith and her journey in it. Faith, as I have said before is also something that grabs me. I want to know about other people’s faith journeys because they help me continue to explore my own.
In her memoir, Edelman literally goes on a journey when she travels to Belize in search of Mayan healers who may help unravel a mystery she faces with her daughter. Her story, prior to the trip is so eerily familiar that I was uncomfortable reading this book at times. And yet,as is usually the case when you read of someone who shares similar situations, going with this family on this journey of faith was healing-in a way. The journey Hope and her family take does not happen easily. Ms. Edelman, a self-described sceptic, doesn’t enter it lightly or with little care. Every step is full of the agony and fear that can only come with the risks one takes in the name of growth and positive change. Edelman’s role in this story is recognizable because every mother can empathize with the need to do whatever it takes to make the world better for their child.
I was nervous when I picked up this book. I was afraid I would judge her. I was afraid it would anger me or worse, make me have to grow and change, I did not judge. It did not anger me. It did lead to a tremendous amount of introspection which turned out not to be as bad as I thought it would be.
It is an incredible story. She is an amazing author and I am so glad I took the leap of faith required to read about this tremendous leap of faith.
Maybe it even opened my eyes enough to give 27 Dresses another try.
**Altough this is not an official review, as a member of the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, I was given a complimentary copy of The Possibility of Everything by the publisher.
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