The Year My Mother Died: A Memoir by Sherry Scott
This book resonates deep within, perhaps because I lost my mother, and my mother-in-law, at the onset of "middle age", triggering many of the same responses discussed in this memoir (albeit in different manifestations). But I have heard from many other readers who hadn't lost their mothers who loved the book also, so perhaps we all just loved the book because it is a good book. It is also a good walk down memory lane, for anyone who grew up in the seventies.
The loss of your mother is an enormous, ground shifting event, and it was comforting to me to know that even a palliative care doctor - who knew what was coming - found herself in utterly unfamiliar territory as she tried to stand on the shifting ground beneath her feet. Strange fixations, withdrawal, deep introspection, writing, and rediscovering some childhood passions - especially in the arts, were just a few of the things that Dr. Scott and I shared. I also loved how she approached the year by months, reflecting on many childhood remembrances of each month in rural southern America that had me smiling in fond remembrance.
Life doesn't stop when you lose your mother - so you pretty much have to stop and let it revolve around you. In the end, you have to decide to live - or how you are going to live. This is a part of why Hamlet's speech (not just a suicide soliloquy), continues to resonate today. I love these quotes from the book:
"But I had learned to survive. I may have felt as if I couldn't breathe freely at times, may have felt caged and desperate, may have questioned all I ever was, but I had learned enough to keep me where I needed to be and to live to see what life would continue to bring my way if I continued to look for it."
AND, taken from a quote perched within eye sight in her place of retreat, which is written by Hunter S. Thompson:
Is not a journey to the grave with
The intentions of arriving safely
In a pretty and well preserved body,
But rather to skid in broadside,
Totally worn out and proclaiming,
'WOW, WHAT A RIDE!'"
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