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The Reason by Sally Grablick

2011/10/22

Wow, the last time I posted anything was my last day off!  I felt like The Reason deserves its own post, because it is so helpful.

The author kindly sent me this book because I sometimes write about grief here, and she wanted me to review it.  I read it, I loved it, and I’m so excited to tell you about it.

When my husband Tim and I were married, we had these words from the poet Kahlil Gibran <http://www-personal.umich.edu/%7Ejrcole/gibran/prophet/prophet.htm> read at our wedding:

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

These words resonated with both of us. Through Tim’s grief journey, he had experienced this firsthand.  He told me of spiritual highs he experienced that were unimaginable before he lost Denise.  I was constantly reminded of this quote while I read The Reason.  Mrs. Grablick experienced the most anguishing of all losses, in the worst way imaginable.  That loss was the violent suicide of her 19 year old son Ryan, in her home.

You might think The Reason is about Ryan’s suicide. That is surprisingly not true. It is about the changes Mrs. Grablick’s endured in her life that are the result of Ryan’s suicide.  No one can avoid dealing with grief.  You can’t go around it, over it, or under it.  A person has to meet it head-on and work through their grief.

It is the most painful journey one can take.  However, if we suffer a loss, we must fully experience it in order to learn to live with it, and eventually live with it.  We never get over it; we just learn to live with it. Sally Grablick didn’t know any of this until she lost her son.

She captures perfectly the agony and confusion dealing with her loss.  She compiles a list she calls “Cliff Notes For Beginners”.  She marvels at how well our culture teaches us to deal with birth, marriage and work, and how little our culture teaches us about dealing with death.

I especially liked #12–“No Condo’s in the Valley and no giving up.  It’s all about SURVIVAL.”  She is saying although the pain of your loss takes you to the valley of the shadow of death at times, don’t take up residence there.  It really is all about surviving this loss, and sometimes a person must focus on just taking the next breath. The Reason is also helpful for people who have friends who are dealing with a loss.

I learned much of this because I entered the lives of Tim, Andy & Barrett relatively soon after they lost Denise.  They were still in the throes of heavily grieving, but Tim had gone through a very conscious grief process, and wanted to talk about it.  We are still discussing it, 14 years later!  It’s okay, though, because it moves us forward spiritually.  My experience with them has helped me a lot in dealing with others’ grief.

A natural skeptic, Mrs. Grablick talks about visiting a psychic both before and after Ryan’s death.  She also starts to realize ways Ryan is communicating with her and others.  She recounts many occasions she has communicated with Ryan since his death.  One thing I found interesting was Ryan’s spiritual growth beyond his earthly existence.  At first he doesn’t regret his suicide, but after seeing the continuing anguish of his loved ones, he comes to express regret for his suicide.

It is also interesting seeing Mrs. Grablick’s spiritual growth through this.  Like my Tim, she reaches spiritual places she couldn’t have imagined before losing her loved one.  She shows everyone many ways to take care of themselves and loved ones spiritually in The Reason.

The writing is fluid and understandable.  I get the sense at times she wants to prove she is receiving contact from Ryan.  I don’t think she needs to prove anything.  When a person suffers a loss like she did, it breaks down your entire being, your foundation.  It also literally blows your mind.  Your world automatically becomes much bigger, including spiritual latitudes that may not have seemed possible before.

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