I knew Sue before I knew about her baby, Thomas. Then I found out about Thomas, and that Sue had written a book about him, and her experience of having a baby born who could not live once he was born. This book was born out of her need to write her thoughts down, her desire to remember every thing she possibly could of her child's brief life, and also, for her children to share their memories of their baby brother. "I wanted to make a permanent record of Thomas' short life and the effect it had on our own lives. I am so glad we had you. I wrote your story as a sign of our love."
For those who hope to comfort, it is an honest account. For those who have walked this path already - of having an infant child die, maybe within hours of birth - it will comfort, because of how honest it is: pain so painful is somehow more bearable when shared. While written with Catholic sensibilities, Grief, Love, and Hope transcends boundaries of religion, important though they are. Any parent who has had a child die, who loved and had hopes for their child, will have find much common ground with Sue Elvis. Published eight-and-a-half years after Thomas's birth and death, Sue writes, "Perhaps Grief, Love and Hope will help such parents feel less alone in their suffering and give them the hope that they too will survive."
Written mostly in diary form - literally using passages from her diary, Sue Elvis takes us through the overwhelming sadness that engulfed her, along with the glimmers of hope that came along occasionally, and eventually even, a return of joy. As she is an able writer, even at the worst of times, this effort, while hard to read from the emotional standpoint, is a joy because of how well she expresses herself. Poignant, yet with a light touch, she even has a short chapter, How Many Children Do You Have?, facing head on - but without useless advice - the unsolvable dilemma of how to answer that oft-asked question. In Sue's case, she had many early miscarriages, as well. Her children write their own short accounts; one, a poem.
From the Foreword, "It is a diary record plus later comment of extremely personal experiences yet without any cloying emotion or sentimentality. It proved deeply moving to this reader." ( )
Thank you so much, Amy!
Grief, Love and Hope is available from Cardinal Newman Faith Resources
A free PDF version is also available