The Alchemy of Loss: A Young Widow's Transformation (Hardcover)
Like A Year of Magical Thinking, this powerful and touching book is both an inspirational read and a comfort to those who are looking for help in overcoming loss.
The phone rang. It was my husband Arron telling me that he was at Windows of the World in the World Trade Center. “There’s been a bomb!” he said. I had been preparing my six-year-old daughter for her second day of first grade, balancing my two-year-old son on my hip, and I was distracted. “OK . . .” I managed to say back. It was 8:49 a.m. on September 11, 2001. He never came home.
Abigail Carter is smart, funny, perceptive, and bereft. In the eyes of most, herself included, she had it all — a full life with a loving successful husband and two beautiful children. But in a horrifying instant watched by the world, it was gone, and her life and her children’s were changed irreparably. How does one learn to live again after tragedy?
The Alchemy of Loss is Abby’s moving story of answering that unimaginable question. Veering away from the trite and pat grief books, which offer one-size-fits-all solutions to this most deeply personal and unique experience, she realizes that each person must forge her own path through grief, and that there are no right answers.
Abby’s journey took her six years, in which she turned everything she knew about herself upside down in order to learn to live again. She charts this journey in the year’s most remarkable memoir. The Alchemy of Loss is her gift to us all — reminding us that life throws up roadblocks we can’t anticipate, and that we cannot live well if we live with regrets.
"What an eloquent, brave and (even) occasionally comic account Abigail Carter has given us of her zigzagging odyssey through the country of mourning. No mourner has it easy, but Carter's tasks were daunting – to mother two suddenly fatherless children, to find her own way through the strife that bereavement brings to her parents and mother-in-law, and to disentangle her personal grief from the national mourning. Through it all, she is a generous, nuanced and admirably honest guide."
– Katherine Ashenburg, author of The Mourner's Dance: What We Do When People Die
“Beautifully written . . . Anyone who has faced enormous loss is sure to find some of their experience articulated in Carter’s intimate and candid memoir. It is a book full of tenderness, anger and – ultimately – hope, and one I imagine one friend will give another in times of hardship and loss.”
– Theo Pauline Nestor, author of How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed
“One of the most beautiful, engaging, exquisitely crafted books I have ever read. Abigail Carter warmly and courageously invites us into the heart of her intensely private grief – a grief we all shared, but, perhaps, never tasted so fully until now.”
-- John E. Welshons, author of When Prayers Aren’t Answered and Awakening from Grief
“A beautiful example of what is possible when we allow suffering to reshape our idea of happiness.”
-- Maria Housden, author of Hannah’s Gift
“Eloquent and honest. . . . Reading it is like sitting at your own kitchen table listening to Abigail Carter’s story, a story that is unnerving, uplifting and occasionally humorous. . . . remarkable.” – Globe and Mail
“She delves deeply into herself and gives us the unvarnished truth about what she felt . . . It’s a book that will be helpful to people suffering sudden and terrible loss.” – Niagara This Week
“Ms. Carter is scrupulously honest, not sparing herself or others when it comes to descriptions of reactions, of situations handled well, or not so well.” – Peterborough Examiner