By Don Murray (Boston Globe writer and Pulitzer Prize Winner) Spinner Publications
I grew up in the Pollyanna generation in which we were taught not to speak of the unpleasant. It was not in good taste. But indoors, behind shutters and shades drawn, we spoke of the deaths, diseases, disloyalties, cruelties, and behaviors we tried to keep hidden from the neighbors. We had an elemental need to hear and tell the stories that revealed and explored the human condition.
Few stories are as significant as the death of a child, and we need to hear the stories of those who have suffered our deepest fears. Robert and Linda Waxler tell the story of the long painful loss of their son as he became addicted to the heroin that finally killed him.
They practice the strange kindness of telling their story with honest, specific details. And the more specific they are, the more individual their story, the more universal it becomes.
The magic in story telling lies in the fact that we tell our personal stories and each reader brings their own living to the reading and collaborate in creating the story they need. Each story is different as it is tuned to each reader's life. This book will not only help those who fear drug addiction in our children and their death before us, it will help all of us as we live out our fragile lives.
The story teller names our fears. That naming is important.
Once something, no matter how terrible, is named we can begin to deal
A death, even one as terrible and out of proper order as Jonathan Waxler's, can be survived. The father and mother and brother and friends -- many in Jonathan's case -- have to go on with their living, helping each other and reaching out to strangers.
In reading this book, I retell my own story, and in doing it I reinforce what I have learned, discover new truths and prepare myself for the other losses which are inevitable. To live without knowing how temporary life is, makes our living trivial. There is no true life without death, no light without dark, no hope without despair, no companionship without loneliness.
Ultimately, this isn't a book about death, but about living filled with wisdom that has been tempered by loss and pain. In allowing the book to take them where life takes them -- to their other's son's wedding for example -- allows us to celebrate survival and instructs us to love and appreciate what we still have. Paying attention to the significant found in the insignificant becomes a daily memorial service for the children we have lost.
This book is for Jonathan and for each of us.