Book Review: The Long Goodbye {Thankful Thursday}

Today, I am thankful for good books and for the reminder that this one in particular gave me to never take my mother for granted. I just finished The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke - possibly one of the saddest and most heartfelt books that I have read in a long time.

This memoir was well-written and captivating - clearly driven by both O'Rourke's desire to share her story and by her need to do so as part of her own healing process. Beautifully written, O'Rourke's memoir takes us on the journey of how she dealt with the grief she felt after her mother's death from metastatic colorectal cancer when she was only 55 years old. The first part of the story chronicals the 2 years leading up to her death, while the second part explores the grief that Meghan felt after her mother had passed away.  Written with passion and the somber tones of someone who has just experienced a great loss, O'Rourke reminds us that the days are short and that life is not something to take for granted. While some parts of this book do read as a how-to guide from some of the world's leading grief experts, it can at no point be read as trite or as anything except complete honesty from O'Rourke. 

Some of her critics have suggested that O'Rourke's work here is self-indulgent and that the behavior that she showcases is obnoxious and at times, outright rude. However, not having gone through the terrible pain of losing a parent myself, I do hope that when my time comes, I will be able to handle it with at least half the grace and composure that I feel O'Rourke did during this experience. This unbelievable story reminds us that no one is perfect and that in the face of insurmountable grief, it is all we can do to hold ourselves together. 

This story deeply affected me on a personal level, as I finished it on my couch, pup between Josh and I, in a rush of sobbing and seemingly unstoppable tears. As I read the last line, over and over again, I could not stop the tears as Josh looked over at me, asking if I was done and if I was going to be okay. While I am a "crier" and even the littlest things bring tears to my eyes incredibly quickly (yes, we're talking about everything from movies to radio ads, and then some), even Josh could tell that this story had moved me. After calming down a bit, I got up from the couch and announced, "I need to call my mother."

I am so fortunate to be close to my own mother and as this story reminds us that no child-parent relationship is without some conflict at one time or another, it also reminds you that there is no stronger bond of love than that between them. I highly recommend this brave and honest memoir to anyone who has, has had or is a mother - I promise that you will not be disappointed. But please, be prepared and keep a box of tissues at your side. 



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