There are very few people I feel I can directly relate to about this. One of them, God bless her, is my friend Jeana. In a heart-to-heart talk last night, she recommended reading The Lovely Bones: A Novel by Alice Sebold.
When we first meet 14-year-old Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. This was before milk carton photos and public service announcements, she tells us; back in 1973, when Susie mysteriously disappeared, people still believed these things didn't happen.I scowered Maryville this afternoon to find the book, and I read it cover-to-cover in about eight and a half hours. No other book has held my attention like this one has.
In the sweet, untroubled voice of a precocious teenage girl, Susie relates the awful events of her death, and her own adjustment to the strange new place she finds herself. (It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swingset.)
With love, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie watches her family as they cope with their grief--her father embarks on a search for the killer, her sister undertakes a feat of amazing daring, her little brother builds a fort in her honor--and begin the difficult process of healing.
In the hands of a brilliant new novelist, and through the eyes of her winning young heroine, this story of seemingly unbearable tragedy is transformed into a suspenseful, touching, even funny novel about family, memory, love, heaven, and living.
The combination of this novel and an empty house to cry and wail in without being under the "dorm microscope" has helped me immensely today. I haven't found what I'm looking for--I'm not even sure I know what I'm looking for--but this extraordinary tale by a one-of-a-kind author has certainly helped me. Thanks, Jeana, for being so intuitive. I'm in your debt yet again.
If anybody else is having similar problems, I'd be glad to lend my copy.
I'll be writing more about Megan, my departed friend, in future entries.