Making Toast…A Grief Observed (2 Books)

41VMaGIhVKL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Hello all– I recently found Making Toast, Roger Rosenblatt’s lovely memoir on the new books shelf at the library.  Rosenblatt’s daughter Amy was a wife, mother of 3 small children and a gifted doctor, when she died of an unexpected heart condition at home on her treadmill.  Immediately the Rosenblatt’s leave their New York home to live indefinitely with their grandchildren and son-in-law, a surgeon.  They become the ones who shepherd kids to school, to lessons and make the morning toast…

You have to admire the author’s sacrifice and generosity as he and his wife Ginny, slip into their new roles.  The book is simply a string of vignettes about their days with the children, the rest of the family. There are birthdays, and reading together, quiet moments of humor and tender offers of support from friends far and wide.  The tone of the book is surprisingly matter of fact.  There is a dearth of emotion that seems not quite authentic.  You feel like someone watching through a window, removed, not knowing the real anguish or pain of this family.    And although this not a “religious” family, the author does write, “My anger at God remains unabated”…”My only spiritual thought that has come to me is a kind of prayer to Amy that we are doing what she would have us do.”  I spent a good part of the book wishing this kind man had real hope, a faith in God that would sustain him.

41-8XDPojdL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_So when I closed the cover on that book, I searched our bookshelves to find and reread C.S. Lewis’ book, A Grief Observed.  This is a very different book, written as a private journal, not intended for publication.  It also has a good share of railing at God, but from a man who’s genuine faith in God has been shaken to it’s core.  The tone of this book is almost too personal, as Lewis slogs through the mire of grief and sorrow upon the death of his wife, Joy.  He writes, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”  You feel very much involved with Lewis in his struggle to confront life’s most difficult question of death itself.  It’s a powerful book, a hard book to read,  but in the end so sustaining.

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