“Widow Stories” by Michelle Latiolais is my first book review; under the new heading at the top of my blog site. On the techy phones, my daughter says that the new pages that I’ve added at the top are in a drop-down called “Menus.” Below is an essay I wrote for the memoir after reading this book and writing the review.
In “Widow Stories” by Michelle Latiolais, I found these words comforting: “She doesn’t want them anywhere near how shattered she is.” The comfort I feel is from reading words that reflect my own feelings. After my husband’s death I was unable to articulate this feeling in spoken or written words. After the recent death (MUST I SAY THAT WORD; CONNECT IT TO THIS SWEET CHILD?) of my grandson I wrote these similar words in a poem: “Not fit for the nurture of others; their sympathy shatters the broken pieces of my heart…” On most days, one sympathetic word or gesture sends me into meltdown, which then makes me want to protect my loved ones from how “shattered” I am.
Michelle contends that, “You will be alone now, but never alone again from the company of loss.” I have to agree, because, even as you begin to heal and join the world, that loss will always be with you. However, when you set the table for guilt, change the sheets and place fresh flowers out for guilt, you also build your house on a foundation in the company of loss. With each death I have carried away a suitcase filled with guilt. I do know that pretty much everyone associated with the death of someone close feels some degree of guilt. I know that. I just don’t know how they “manage” it; how they get up and shower and carry on with their normal life. I haven’t given up trying to send my guilt packing, but it may take some time.
People try to comfort me, and offer variables of “At least you had that great love.” I now have Michelle Latiolais’ perfect answer: “One wants what one has loved, not the idea of love.” I know that it is Paul I want, not some idea of the love we shared. “Yes, but I want my Paul,” has become my mantra since his death. However unreasonable it may be (and I do realize it IS unreasonable), I want the actual person, not the idea. Maybe the most comforting words would be, “I wish I could bring him back to you.” My mom simply says, “I know, honey,” and that usually calms me down.
Michelle Latiolais’ little book of stories has helped me acknowledge and explore some of my own pain from the loss of loved ones.
I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave me a note in “Leave a comment” which is located to the left of the title.