Book Review: Disaster Falls

“I wrote in expiation, in homage, in remembrance. Perhaps someone will one day collect the scattered remains of this child’s life…

…I wrote so that Owen would know that I had tried to understand. I wrote so that Owen would not be alone. Alison thought it might be the other way around. Perhaps I wrote to feel less alone, she said…

…I wrote for Alison and Julian- to leave traces of Alison and Julian. But, as I did so, I also felt myself retreating from the world and the ones I loved. Writing and everyday life became distinct realms between which I circulated without fully existing in either one. The psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross urged parents who have lost a child to steer clear of Valium. She did not issue the same warning about writing.”

disaster falls

When Stephane Gerson’s 8-year-old son dies on a rafting trip in Utah, his distraught father begins writing. I know the feeling. I did the same after I lost my husband, and yes, I was running away from grief just as surely as another widow I knew ran away in an RV with her homeschooled children.

Writing tempers the hurt, but might it not also deaden nerve endings? Writing can prove less painful than life, but might this mediated existence not keep experience at a remove?”

Gerson asks this question in “Disaster Falls: A Family Story.” His wife ran. He wrote. His remaining son? Well, it would be years before they would hear what losing his sibling (and best friend) meant to him.

I am well aware that I read these kinds of books in hopes for some insight into what my daughter and son-in-law have experienced in losing their child, a loss I cannot fathom. I found it interesting that Stephane attended support groups while his wife Alison did not go back after one meeting. Alison was spiritual, feeling her son near. Stephane did not.

I’m glad Stephane Gerson took solace in writing. This memoir is powerful.

Read more about the author and his book HERE.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for review.

 

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