The Lively Shadow: Living with the Death of a Child

Ballantine Books, 2003 - 193 pages
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"Remembering may be a celebration or it may be a dagger in the heart, but it is better, far better, than forgetting."--Donald M. Murray

It is the hardest thing anyone can face--the death of a child. A tragedy that has affected millions also touched Donald M. Murray, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Boston Globe, twenty-five years ago. Now, for the first time, he fully expresses what he lost--and learned--in a book even more moving than his inspiring volume on aging, My Twice-Lived Life.

Lee Murray was Donald and Minnie Mae's middle child, one of three girls. An avid oboe player accepted by a prestigious conservatory, the family "caretaker" with compassion for everyone, a young woman with a devoted boyfriend and the whole world ahead of her--Lee succumbed at age twenty to Reye's Syndrome, commonly considered a childhood illness. In The Lively Shadow, her father remembers the hell of her passing and the healing it took him years to finally experience.

From hearing the initial news that Lee was in the hospital and the four harrowing days spent by her bedside, to trying to teach, write, and love others while grieving, to learning to live at last with only Lee's memory, Donald Murray embarks upon a journey that is at once universal and informed by his own life's details. Whether he's feeling irrational guilt at not being able to protect his child or pulling off the highway to release a primal howl, the pain Murray feels brings him finally to a place of peace, an acceptance whereby he realizes "the most terrible experience in my life has also been a gift," requiring "a continuous celebration of the commonplace."

Unflinching in its honesty, The Lively Shadow is a beloved author's most impressive achievement--a book bound to be of continuing comfort to anyone who has lost a loved one, a touchstone on a topic few have written about, let alone addressed so openly.

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À propos de l'auteur (2003)

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Donald M. Murray writes the weekly “Now and Then” column for The Boston Globe. Boston Magazine and The Improper Bostonian magazine selected him best columnist in Boston in 1991 and 1996, respectively. He is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Hampshire, which opened the Donald M. Murray Journalism Laboratory in 1997. His books include My Twice-Lived Life, Write to Learn, The Craft of Revision, Writing to Deadline, and Crafting a Life in Essay, Story, Poem.

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