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Ann Hood‘s book Comfort is a compelling memoir of grief, her grief after the sudden death of her young daughter Grace. Despite the grief-no, within that grief-she is living her life in crescendo. While I have written before that I accept dying as simply part of living, losing one’s child is an aberration in life.

Hood’s book begins with a rapid dialogue of people’s ‘helpful’ statements like “you need to go out more” or “take up a hobby “or “read this memoir” coupled with her inner responses. These suggestions, offered with the best of intentions, ignore the one need a grieving person requires- time to work through and within their grief, their way. She carefully conveys with deep emotion her loss of innocence and hope as she becomes a dazed and heartbroken woman.  After deeply loving someone, one is never over grief; grief is not linear and one only manages the jumble of its journey. The intense honesty of Comfort is a reminder to allow each person to grieve their way, as ‘sorrow takes some of the twinkle from their eyes’.  As we permit grieving, we honour the love given to the deceased, for this love will always remain.

Perhaps you’re wondering how and why I believe Hood is living life with gusto.

In Hood’s transformed life today, there is hope, joy and love. While her daughter has been gone for years now, Grace’s unique melody endures, intertwined at birth with her mother’s. Like the tattooed ringing bell Hood gifted herself on Grace’s first missed birthday, Grace’s melody sings in her heart.

Ann Hood’s life will always be an exclusive echoing melody of two bells, mother and daughter, as she vibrantly continues living her life in crescendo.