Monday, October 13, 2008

A beautiful letter from a reader about DOG YEARS

Howdy, Mark:

I am just in the first several chapters of "Dog Years," but wanted to send you a quick note to tell you how much its contents are resonating with me. I am a librarian and one of my friends and colleagues recommended your book, thinking that it would be a tool in dealing with my own grief.

You see, my life partner of 15+ years (that's 30 years in straight life) died on June 19 of glioblastoma multiforme, the self-same brain cancer that Ted Kennedy has. He was diagnosed on March 13, so the whole journey was like taking a bullet train to a bleak and depressing destination.

As you can probably imagine, I have been reading all kinds of literature to help me cope with his loss. One of the books with which I have found particular empathy is Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking." I can identify so very well with the idea that, at some level, I still expect Charles to be returning at any moment. Although I might have an intellectual grasp on his departure, I still have that need to think that he's out there on one of his research trips (yes, he was a university professor, too) and that he will be walking in the door and climbing the stairs at any time.

Although I don't have dogs (we have cats - two surly Siamese whom I love), I have an affinity for all animals - sometimes more than humans. During my last visit to my therapist, who is helping me through my bereavement, I read the passage in your book where you’ve taken Beau to and from the vet. Yes, I cried as I read it - it's all about life and loss and being human (and being a dog).

Thanks for your book. I seem to be reading through it very slowly - I have to stop occasionally because it summons emotions and I find myself needing to allow time to feel them. Thanks for helping me to wade through the myriad emotions that comprise the territory of grief.

Kind regards,



Latitude said...

To Jack: I'm so, so sorry for your loss.

To Mark: I, too, have treasured your memoirs as a way to work through grief. Know that the work you do is great work. (As I'm sure you already do.) Thank you.

Jack Albrecht said...

Thanks, Erin:

Yeah, this part of life's journey is a rough one. It's a time that requires ingenuity, courage, and a conscious effort to ask for help. And, the clencher is . . . we all have to go through it. Maybe not with the same intensity, but with the same terminus (sorry, I couldn't resist a dead end analogy).