The Year of Magical Thinking

140004314x01_aa240_sclzzzzzzz_I just finished reading The Year of Magical Thinking.  There has been a lot written about this book.  Joan Didion wrote this book after her husband, John Dunne, died of a massive coronary.  They had been married over 40 years.  During this time, her daughter was incredibly ill.  After the publication of the book, her daughter died soon after.  Devastating for anyone who just lost the 2 most important people in her world. 

What is most interesting about the book is she grieving process that she goes through.  We all are going to die but somehow we never talk about it.  These days, through only one degree of separation, we hear stories of illness, cancer, etc.  I always ask, how is the surviving spouse?  How are the children?  It breaks your heart. 

There are support groups for grievers.  The connection is the process they are going through.  My mother lost her husband of 25 years about 7 months ago.  I have listened to her and watch her go through a process that I knew nothing of.   Joan Didion basically is going through the exact thing.  That is what I found interesting about the book.  The stages of grief are universal.

The book rambles in some way, but so does grief.  For no reason at all, you find yourself overcome with thoughts of a moment in the past.  You wonder if you will ever be able to travel again to somewhere you had been with the person that you lost.  Your memories are starting to fade and the new memories are without your loss. 

I found the book incredibly insightful and well written.  In a time when more and more people are living longer than expected.  Finding themself having to chart out the next 20 years or more for a new and different life.  This is a book absolutely worth reading.

As hard as it, and I am watching grief first hand, life is for the living.  Joan Didion not only lost her husband but her daughter as well and I give her a huge amount of credit for sitting down and writing this book.  I am sure it was part of her grieving process. 

There is one line that she continues to write through out her book which has stuck with me.  Life changes fast.  Life changes in the instant.  You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. 

I say, carpe diem. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Bonny

    I read only the excerpt of the “The Year of Magical Thinking” in the Times. I was touched by her comment about friends in another time zone, as if there was a way she could change the future if she had their three hour advantage. I also wonder what will be missed by myself or my husband when we face the inevitable. We think it will be our clever banter or consoling wit but it may just be something as ordinary as a pair of glasses on the nightstand.