On May 10, 2005, I lost my mother to cancer. I went through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. Eleven years later, I still find myself grieving and I still wrestle with at least two stages: anger and depression. I am sometimes angry at her for leaving me and I am angry at myself for harboring this anger. On my darkest days when I fight depression, I seek healing by writing poetry.
I also find it cathartic reading books that offer both understanding and hope in what I feel is the never ending grieving process. One can learn to live with grief. It just takes alot of time.
I discovered Life’s That Way, a memoir by Jim Beaver, a few years ago along my road towards healing. I recently reread the book. This beautiful, enduring tribute that Jim wrote in honor of his wife Cecily is also a gift to readers. What may have started as a collection of emails that Jim Beaver wrote to keep family and friends abreast of the Beavers’ journey through the conflicting emotions arising from Cecily’s cancer diagnosis became a lifeline for others (mostly strangers) who find hope contained within the pages.
What Jim Beaver does in this book is remarkable. His writing style speaks to the reader in its honesty. There is courage in confronting cancer. Such courage extends to loved ones who must find a way to show support while at the same time dealing with their own emotions. Guilt, anger, pain, fear and helplessness all become part of the daily diet. Beaver doesn’t sugarcoat any of this. His book is raw and poignant. Yet, through all of these weighty emotions, emerges a picture of resiliency. The Beavers’ daughter, Madeline, is a beautiful testament to their love and an unquestioned recipient of her parents’ legacy of courage. I found myself gravitating towards the undercurrent of hope offered by this book.
I highly recommend Life’s That Way. Life is a mystery. There are never any clear answers as to how we deal with the death of a loved one. There are no scholars who hold the definitive key to the “best” method of healing. Such is that journey called life. One day will be a struggle. The next day will be a victory.
Life’s that way.