Healthy Living Magazine

Living with Loss

By Lynnbraz @wandering_lotus
Living with LossAs a woman who has experienced tremendous loss in life, I read Claire Bidwell Smith's memoir, The Rules of Inheritance (Hudson Street Press, 2012), with apprehension. I feared reading about loss would trigger deeper feelings of grief within me. I feared I would feel lonelier, sadder, less accepting. What I found, instead, was the exact opposite.
Written entirely in first person present, the book moves swiftly, sometimes breathlessly, despite dealing with the death of each of her parents, her best friend and an assortment of personal crises (crazy boyfriends, alcoholic episodes, dropping out of college, a terminated pregnancy). Non-linear, The Rules is structured around Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's Five Stages of Grieving, illustrative of how those healing from loss move in and out of grief stages.
The book starts with Smith at age 18 learning her mother is in the hospital and that the doctors are saying there's nothing more that can be done for her. Smith learns the meaning of the word hospice. Over and over Smith writes "My mother is dying." I know the feelings that drove that repetition. I will never forget my mother's phone call to me telling me my younger sister had just died. "Cindi's dead," she said. It was the most unbelievable thing I'd ever heard.
Smith's memoir is brave and funny and heartbreaking and hard to read and completely absorbing. I did cry. And I'll admit, I cried for myself, for the loss of my own father. For my sister. But reading this helped me realize that while grief may look different for everyone, feelings are universal.
I highly recommend this memoir. It gives hope. It proves a beautiful life can blossom despite loss and grief and setbacks of all sorts.
Join the discussion of this wonderful book on BlogHer at:
This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club, but the opinions expressed are my own.

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