"'Be good to yourself,' she looked at me with compassion, slightly gesturing with her right hand. It was a good gesture, like the slow scattering of seeds into the wind or the tender stroke of a child’s hair."

When her son dies in her arms at birth, Chute begins the arduous process of grieving, losing herself in a Year of Distraction devoid of any desire to be who she used to be. Emerging from this lost year and pregnant again, Chute chronicles her journey to rediscover herself as an artist, wife, and mother. With lyrical, descriptive details, she captures grief and hope, heartache and joy, strain and release. In writing her story which is unique and personal, she has captured the universal process of moving through grief to arrive shaken but hopeful and thriving on the other side.

Chute’s vulnerability and willingness to explore the impact of grief and sorrow on a marriage, on faith, and on parenting opens this story up as an offering of help and hope. For this is the power of memoir—an offering of shared humanity. An author’s story may be your story, and his or her experience may help you in some way. Chute’s shaken faith is captured with honesty and deep introspection. Her awareness that grief can shut down our creativity which then impacts our identity highlights the spiraling force that tremendous loss incites. The loss of a child can also strain a marriage as partners grieve differently and communicate through that grief in different ways. The daily responsibilities of parenting can become unbearable in a raw awareness of danger and the fragility of being alive but locked in the whims of death.

Chute also provides loving details of ordinary life, seasons, and time passing—the external parts of the world which overlay the internal struggle to overcome grief and prepare for the arrival of a new baby. As she wrestles with these issues through a support group, through therapy, and with friends and family, her story is full of life and light even in the shadow of her son’s death. She acknowledges the ache of loss and the helplessness we feel as we continue living and learning and feeling. Chute is unafraid to feel her way through the pain, and the writing soars with strong figurative language and radiant prose. But she is rational and intelligent also as she examines the ruin of death. She documents rich conversations with the therapy group, her husband, and doctors that are full of questions, philosophies, wonder, and truth.

Like its narrator, this book is brimming with hope and honesty. Chute powerfully articulates the heartbreak of loss and the healing that can come with time and with resolve to move forward. She gives voice to families experiencing perinatal loss and helps us understand the lasting impact of losing a child. Memoirs like this one cross over easily to self-help as Chute maneuvers through coping and healing, sharing her clarity and insight after enduring loss. The pace of our modern lives does not always allow for enough introspection and reflection. Chute celebrates taking time to unravel the tangled mess in our hearts to gain insight and a way forward. She shines a light along the way that bereaved parents can follow or anyone else in need of courage to face life’s sorrows and unexpected losses. Her inner voice tells her, “You have lost your child, but you are not lost.” This is a voice we can all follow into the light.

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