Wednesday, April 28, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes

Children often accuse their parents of trying to live their (the children's) lives for them. In ways that they never would have wished, Roger and Ginny Rosenblatt almost do start to live the life of their daughter Amy. Amy dies unexpectedly at age 38 leaving her husband with their 3 young children, ages, 7, 5 and 14 months. Immediately, Roger and Ginny leave their home on Long Island and move in with their 3 grandchildren and son-in-law indefinitely.

You may recognize the name Roger Rosenblatt. He is a prolific and gifted writer and was a contributor for many years on the "McNeil/Lehrer News Hour". In Making Toast, he chronicles many of the events of that first year following Amy's death and reflects on his own struggle to come to terms with this tragedy. Without any experience in this area, I was amazed at the openness with which father and grandparents talked with the children about their mother and her death. Would you expect this from a five-year-old: "In April, we celebrated Amy's birthday. When we blew out the candles, Harris [the father] asked Sammy [age 5] what he thought Mommy would wish for. 'To be alive,' Sammy said."?

Rosenblatt gives a loving vibrant portrait of a talented and high-spirited daughter. He acknowledges that he came to know more of the details of her life from her friends and colleagues after her death than he probably ever would have known had she been living.

No one can replace their mother, but these three children have the good fortune to have as close to perfect substitutes as one could wish for them in their grandparents. And these loving grandparents also have the good fortune to have these three grandchildren to temper the grief that comes from the death of a child at any age.

Read an excerpt from the book and listen to Rosenblatt read here

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