Book Review: The Cure for Sorrow

I recently discovered Jan Richardson and her blessings resonate with so many things, but this book especially has touched me in the midst of the treatment I’m enduring for stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She wrote this particular book in the middle of and as she lived her life in the aftermath of her husband’s sudden death. While she is working through her own grief at the death of her soulmate, the specifics of the grieving process are nearly universal.

From the introduction, the author describes grief in this way:

“Grief is the least linear thing I know. Hardly a tidy progression of stages, grief tends to be unruly. It works with the most raw and elemental forces in us, which makes it unpredictable and wild. Grief resists our attempts to force it along a prescribed path. It propels us in directions we had not planned to go. It causes what we treated as solid to give way. It opens new seams of mourning in places we thought settled. It spirals us back through layers of sorrow we thought we had dealt with.”

These words reveal to me that the author gets it, she endures grief, and that speaks to me in a deep and compelling way. I haven’t lost my husband, as she did, but I am grieving a great many things in light of my terminal diagnosis and the language of grief is the same no matter what is being grieved.

One of the blessings that resonated the most with me is this one:

BLESSING FOR THR BROKENHEARTED

Let us agree

For now

That we will not say

The breaking

Makes us stronger

Or that it is better

To have this pain

Than to have done

Without this love

Let us promise

We will not

Tell ourselves

Time will heal

The wound,

When every day

Our waking

Opens it anew

Perhaps for now

It can simply be enough

To simply marvel

At the mystery

Of how a heart

So broken

Can go on beating

As if it were made

For precisely this–

As if it knows

The only cure for love

Is more of it,

As if it sees

The heart’s sole remedy

For breaking

Is to love still

As if it trusts

That its own

Persistent pulse

Is the rhythm

Of a blessing

We cannot

Begin to fashion

But will save us

Nonetheless

Grief is human. Grief is real. Grief is weighty. Grief changes us.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Cure for Sorrow

  1. Abigail, thank you for writing, for being you! Knowing about you and being able to read your story is a gift I have been given. Will forever be grateful. the gift of reality. Very painful, even sometimes overwhelming..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written: both your words and hers. And they couldn’t be more true.

    I hope you’re managing to deal with the treatments while still getting some good days in there – I know that sometimes they can be few, and far between. The whole thing made my wife and I appreciate every good day like we *never* did before, and boy were they ever great.

    It’s nice that you found our blog. Write me any time – to chat, for advice, to compare notes, whatever. I’ve signed up to be notified whenever you post something new, because I love your writing. Be well. Live well. You’ve certainly got the right attitude. Much love. And keep pushing for a real fix; there may be one out there. New clinical trials, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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