Virtual Book Discussion Series for Adults Bereaved in Childhood
Adults who experienced loss during childhood have few places to tell our stories, remember our loved ones, and connect with others. I want to change that!
In memory of my mom – Mary Lee Wimberg Morse, 1933-1970
Though my mom died of cancer when I was seven, I didn’t start grieving until my 20s and only much later realized that the loss will always be part of me. At this stage in my journey, I feel called to publicly honor my mom’s memory for the first time. Reading in a community seems like the perfect tribute, because my lifelong love of books and libraries originated with her.
Monthly book selections are a mix of new and older fiction as well as nonfiction. For each book, a live discussion takes place in a Zoom call. There is a dedicated private Facebook group where I post updates and questions about the books and you can comment as you feel moved. Feel free to join in one or both avenues of discussion as you prefer.
Participation is free of charge, but I offer suggested organizations related to grief, cancer support, and literacy if you’d like to donate in memory of your loved one.
Sign up here! Your confirming email will provide information about the Zoom calls.
Be a part of the book discussion!
When I enroll you in the book discussion, I will also sign you up for my newsletter.
Book Selections and Zoom Discussion Dates
The Loss That Is Forever: The Lifelong Impact of the Early Death of a Mother or Father
by Maxine Harris (1996)
Zoom Discussion: Sunday, August 22 at 4:00 pm EST
More than 60 men and women who lost a parent at an early age contributed their stories to this investigation of an important life event by a practicing psychotherapist. Their stories, including accounts of some famous figures: C.S. Lewis, Virginia Woolf, Eleanor Roosevelt, shed light on a legacy of loss the author views as “the psychological Great Divide, separating the world into a permanent ‘before and after.'” Whatever form the impact of this loss takes in later adult life, it can be rage, driving ambition, fear of intimacy, these life stories amply demonstrate the indelible character of the mark left on the child. These are also stories of recovery, of people who became more than survivors, testifying to the repair of damage from childhood trauma. This enlightening presentation opens up a seldom discussed topic.
by Ann Napolitano (2020)
Zoom Discussion: Sunday, September 26 at 4:00 pm EST
What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live? One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Halfway across the country, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor. Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a part of himself has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery—one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do you find the strength to put one foot in front of the other? How do you learn to feel safe again? How do you find meaning in your life? Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.
Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir
by Natasha Trethewey (2020)
Zoom Discussion: Sunday, October 24 at 4:00 pm EST
A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy. At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985.
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