This is a very sweet book we’re reading, I think, and, boy, was this week’s section somber. The death of a child and the moving toward death of a gentle person, one of the book’s main characters. As I re-read this week’s chapters I tried to track my mood. When I sat down to read I was energetic and extroverted. By the time I finished I was introspective and quiet, full of wonderings.
For instance, I wonder if the author is making any kind of a statement about the “randomness” (dare I say unfairness?) of life, of a man getting cancer soon after the unexpected death of his only child while another man is healthy but ignores his six children? Or the obvious juxtaposition Hill shows between Eve and Miriam. Given they are sisters and therefore come from the same basic environment, what has caused them to be so different?
I don’t have any great reflection activity to share here, but I do want to share these two lines from page 87. Their depth and implication caused me to literally set the book down and let them sink in:
“But it was Eve he wanted. Eve could not make the pain easier but her presence helped him bear it quite well.”
In terms of being in a relationship, everything I could ever want is summed up in those two lines. While I appreciate others who want to help me, when I am sad or hurt it is my beloved that I want with me. And I don’t expect her presence can take away the pain, that is too much to expect or ask of anyone (but, oh, how sometimes we try). But just having her near strengthens me.
Alone, I am one. Together, we are greater than two.
What a lovely story.
Thank you for this. I’m not reading the book right now, but you helped me with your words. My husband has a very challenging cancer. Fortunately, he’s doing well right now. He often says that he couldn’t do this without me, and I usually feel like I don’t really “get” that. The quote from the book, along with your comments, helped me to put myself in his shoes. I realize now that it’s the presence of our beloved that makes it bearable.
I also was struck forcibly by those lines, the closeness and dependence that was implicit. I find in my old-er age, there are times when it is my middle sister that is the one I want to share something with and no one else will do. At other times it is my daughter or my best friend. For me who has always been strong and independent, this is an important new facet of my life. Recently, I have become aware of just how much I am dependent on my husband’s unfailing love, interest, and support. I remember when my father died four years ago, my mother mourned his presence particularily in this regard — she told me he was always interested in whatever it was that was happening to her and he was always there to listen, to share, and help to solve whatever problem it was or to participate in any decision that had to be made. Her daughter and a grandson living in the house with her did not begin to replace that aspect of their relationship. It is a rare gift.
My thoughts are with you Carol and your husband — I know he is thankful for you every day and perhaps that is the gift he is giving you, just you are giving him the gift of being there for him now.
That was beautiful Andy. Sadly my relationship with my partner ended 2 weeks ago, and I am feeling his absence intensely. I can relate to this passage in the book – I am hurting so deeply, and the one person that I want is him. Yet obviously that is not possible.
Thank you for your kind words, Linda.
And my heart goes out to you, istopforsuffering.