I went to a funeral yesterday for a friend's mother. The loss and sorrow was so unbearable that I too became teary-eyed though, I have never known the lost loved one personally. Grief is just overwhelming and I don't want to think how it would feel like if I have to undergo the same experience. I know it's inevitable but I don't think anyone would be prepared for the terrible and excruciating pain.
The Day He Went Away is about the loss of a best friend and a part of your heart. Kate Masters just realized she's in love with her best friend for almost two decades, Army scout Ethan Shepherd. Ethan has been in love with her for the last ten years and Kate kept telling him that she doesn't see him that way. If only she had known that when she finally admits to loving Ethan, their happiness will be short-lived. She would have not wasted those years away to denying him her love. Ethan got killed-in-action on his last deployment before leaving the Army for good and Kate doesn't know how to live without him.
This book just about killed me. The pain, the loss and devastation were just too raw and real. I could feel them right to the marrow. I can feel the void and desolation that Kate felt. I can feel that I can easily be Kate in the same situation. A walking zombie with no desire to continue but to just fade away. With no hope that the terrible loss and the pang of longing will ever subside. As they all say, you will just get used to the pain but you will never forget it. It will forever be a part of you. Grief will eat you alive until you surrender to it and accept it.
There are five stages of grief and until you pass each stage, only then will you be able to find the strength to move on. But let's not forget, that it was never a prerequisite to face the unbearable sorrow alone. The same people who shared our grief could also be our saving grace. These people know exactly how our hearts were broken cause they too are trying to piece back their scattered pieces. This shared grief will feel less deadly than if we bear it alone.
This book has purged all the heartaches and disappointments I felt inside because I cried too hard like someone died. Reading this book is agonizing but it is also hopeful. It shows that our lives should not end or lose its meaning when a loved one died but it should make us meaner to fight our demons. It should propel us to demand more of life and drink it more. Gobble it up like we have never done before. Cry if you must. Wallow if you have too. Deal with grief the way you know how to but always know when you had enough. And when you are done, fight like you never had before.
I give the book five red dresses. Because after all the heart-breaking torment, hope and love, will be your redemption. The same two things that were lost will give you the courage again to face the world and wear red dresses of happiness and purpose.
Life, fate, the universe, they all broke the rules on you. When you do move on, the man will have to be beyond special.
- Jennifer Millikin, The Day He Went Away -