Though I love a good story, I’ve never been much of a reader. I’ve found that my mind wanders too much thus preventing my from giving most books the time needed to bond with the story. Books need to be writen in a just-so manner to grab my attention. Even then, I need the time to read — which doesn’t seem to be in my schedule lately.
Audio-books have solved the time limitation for me. In the past couple of years, I’ve used my commute time as a way to read (term used loosely) to a few books that I have the want but not the time to enjoy. It’s a great way to go and has a bonus of me actually enjoying my drive to and from the office.
The thing is, I don’t have a whole lot of audio-books collected. I have just the few that have called out to me while perusing the audio library. Not only does the book have to be good, but the narrator must be good too. I am drawn to female voices. Lately, I’ve added audio-books to my list of recycling. By this, I mean to say that I am listening to the same stories all over again.
Eat, Pray, Love by Melissa Gilbert was just as enjoyable the second time through. It’s been a couple of years now; my view of life is slightly different than before, thus the way I identify with the book is different. Read by Melissa Gilbert herself, the story comes alive inside the MommyVan as the main character travels the to three I’s (Italy, India and Indonesia). I found the descriptions of each place fastinating, as would you if your extent of travel outside of the United States consisted in total of two HOURS into Vancuver. In fact, my travel inside this country are almost as limited.
Books need not include travels to far away lands to hold my attention. They just need to speak to me on a personal level. You know the type: the books that take hold of you right from the very beginning, pull you into the story early on, and don’t let you return to your real life until the story is done being told.
Good Grief by Lolly Winston is one of those such books. On Friday afternoon, I found the audio-book in my iTunes library and began listening. The narrator’s voice, very different from Gilbert’s reading, was less than soothing but familiar. Of course, the feeling makes complete sense: this story is about a widow.
I guess I figured that I’d have an easier time with the story the second time around but, as I listen and draw parallels to my own grief journey, the tears begin to flow.
It seems ironic that the main character, a young widow named Sophie who lives in Silicon Valley, works in the same industry as me. Thankfully, I do not work in Sales & Marketing and our product line does not include a testosterone patch (although my past employer did have a “lifestyle drug”). Winston’s description of the work day is funny, yet frighteningly familiar. I can identify with the want to call my husband to vent about my work-life frustration. Come to think of it, I can identify with MANY of the things that this young woman goes through.
Sophie’s grief journey has just begun but I know her story well. This is not just because I’ve heard her story before but because I am living it. It’s been 2 ½ years since my husband’s passing. On most days, it is not “the first thing I think of” (as Sophie’s therapist explains), but on some days it is the ONLY thing that I think of.
Today, I catch up with Sophie on her Monday. It is my Monday as well. I listen and I cry as Sophie describes how her mother-in-law swooped in on Sophie’s weekend to pack up, her deceased husband, Ethan’s things. Her mother-in-law placed the boxes in the garage and called the Goodwill to pick them up. But, when the men came for the boxes, Sophie still could not part with them. Instead, she directed the men to take the living room furniture.
As I did the first time I read this book, I breathed a sigh of relief that I have not done anything as crazy as this…yet. Still, I can identify with what Sophie is going through. I too have boxes of my husband’s things which I cannot bear to part with and others that I’d like to but can’t.
There is a box in my garage that has the nicer of Tom’s clothing which I had once thought I would take to a consignment store. The plan, which originally sounded wise, was halted by me imagining the store manager critiquing the quality of the items thereby justifying why she would not give me more for the items. Likewise, the thought of person after person telling me what is wrong with the suit that made me weak in the knees when Tom put it on paralyzes me from having a garage sale. I imagine myself pulling the articles of clothing from everyone and closing my garage door abruptly wishing they would all GO AWAY!
Of course, none of this has really happened because I am deathly afraid to have the garage sale. Just the thought of it causes my throat to tighten and brings tears to my eyes. When I entertain the thought of paying a friend to do it for me, I realize just how silly that is. Paying someone to sell my husband’s clothing! Doesn’t that defeat the purpose all together?
And so… my story continues.