From the award-winning author of the cult bestseller Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto—an unprecedented book that recognizes that our responses to death do not begin and end with sadness and sorrow. The longer we live, the more people we know—or at least know of—who die. Sympathy cards and sad movies tell us we should grieve and be sorrowful. But losing those around us arouses many other feelings as well as, or instead of, sadness: feelings we're terrified or ashamed to talk about because we suspect that if we did, others would call us crazy, cold, unfilial, unfaithful, or immature. Thus at those very moments when we face the most transformative dramas of our lives, we lock away deep inside of us our truest, rawest reactions.
Now in The Farewell Chronicles, with a voice and style that is all her own, Anneli Rufus investigates our responses to death as no writer has ever done before. Starting with keen observations on the deaths of many she has known—loved ones and casual acquaintances, children and adults, friends and enemies—Rufus explores with candor, clarity, and compassion those reactions that feel so real and yet so scarily inappropriate: from guilt, greed, and relief to apathy, rejoicing, and beyond. While polite society hesitates even to talk about death, The Farewell Chronicles breaks this code of silence, daring to show that mourning is as individual as we are, and that there are no "right" or "wrong" ways to mourn.
Once in a while, a book comes along which changes the world as you see it, for me, this is one such book. I picked it up a couple of weeks ago just because the title and subject interested me. This book shows in the most down to earth, real, refreshingly honest way that there is no right and wrong when it comes to grief, that it changes for each individual.
It is a book that I think everyone ought to read at least once. Whatever your experience with death, it doesn't alter how much you can learn from this book and how you can walk away at the end of it knowing that you are not alone, that others have experienced similar reactions and most importantly, that it's okay. You can even learn how to deal with those who are mourning, in a way that is more helpful to them.
I loved that sprinkled among the personal experiences in the book, there are various facts regarding mourning and death. It was a wake up call for me as I hadn't realised just how much society has changed, regarding what is acceptable or expected in these darker moments of our lives.
I have nothing but praise for this book and the author who created it. Even now, many years after the deaths I have experienced in my life, this book has made such a difference to me and the way I think.
Author's website: http://www.annelirufus.com