This is a rather harrowing account of one man’s journey, following the diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer for his beloved wife, Louise. Pierre records his thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions to the processes that she undergoes. He details the exhilaration of believing that all the cancer has been removed, through to the feeling of despair when it re-emerged.
The book is set out in a rather unusual way. Chapter one looks at Post-Loss immediately after Louise’s death. Chapter Two tells of Pre-Loss, and “the beginning of the long journey into darkness.” The following chapters alternate between Post-Loss and Pre-Loss and give dates and times, which explain Pierre’s thoughts, feelings and actions at the latest treatments for his wife. It does seem as though sharing his every thought and part in this story has helped the author to lessen the intensity of his feelings.
The Epilogue is specifically designed as an explanatory segment to help people to understand the common issues concerning grief and loss. The author spends time defining grief, and then discusses coping mechanisms and strategies, while including Abandonment and Separation Anxiety.
As Pierre is a counsellor, and works with those suffering loss, his research is careful and thorough. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is quoted for her “Stages of Grief.” The preferred term now is “Tasks of Mourning”, by William Worden, as it is recognised that the sufferer is not a passive bystander, but actively works at, and is involved in, moving forward. Every individual will grieve in their own way. However, it is helpful to understand why you feel angry, or why you behave in a certain way. This puts a rational and factual plan together, that people can understand.