A mother's harrowing narrative about the loss of her son and her redemption from sorrow
One autumn morning Carol Henderson was a new mother recovering in the hospital and cradling a baby the doctor declared perfect. Within days of delivery, the new mother's peaceful world disintegrated into a nightmare of hospitals, tubes, EKG's, and operations. Her baby had a serious heart murmur.
Losing Malcolm is a frank and compelling narrative about a naive mother whose carefully constructed life unravels when her infant son dies. Before her son's devastating illness, the author had little experience with the realities of disease and death. After dealing with doctors and living around the clock in the hospital, Henderson, a hypochondriac who feared all things medical, becomes an informed and tenacious advocate for her child. After a free-fall plunge to the depths of her grief, she resurfaces with a newfound sense of self, a deep empathy for others, and a poignant awareness that enduring grief eventually takes its place in the broader tapestry of life.
Interweaving dreams and journal entries, this highly original memoir offers an evocative chronicle of emotional devastation and recovery. Henderson's account also reveals the differing ways in which she and her husband responded to their child's death and the ways in which loss transformed them. With wit and caring, she also deals with the taboos that exist in the way society-grandparents, friends, and neighbors-deal with death.
This spare, honest narrative resonates with universal themes. It will appeal to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, those who know someone who is suffering, and those who are interested in reading about the tragedies and triumphs of others.
Praise for Losing Malcolm:
"A spell-binding, uplifting story that reads like a novel. I couldn't put it down."
- Lee Smith, author of Fair and Tender Ladies
"In this powerful and moving memoir, Carol Henderson grows from innocence, through harrowing grief, to the deep knowledge that darkness is crucial to a sense of the fullness of life."
- Annie Dillard, author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
"The lessons in Henderson's beautifully written book are manifold. Not only will the book help teach other parents how to survive, it will also educate health care professionals about how to be of meaningful service to those who are grieving. And there are powerful lessons here about the inadequacies of a health care system that, unfortunately, has still not changed enough."
- Phyllis Silverman, author of Never Too Young to Know: Death in Children's Lives
Carol Henderson has been a freelance journalist since 1985. Her work has been published in such periodicals as Utne Reader, The Oxford American, Woman's Day, The Chapel Hill News, Attache, and Kidsville. She lives in Chapel Hill, N.C.