The Deep End of the Ocean – Jacquelyn Mitchard

This fictional story is heavy. The writing is descriptive. You feel like you are inside the book, walking through the pages with the characters. Font size Times New Roman 10 with close to 400 pages of human emotions, despair, loyalty, friendship, loss, of having to live your life while going through unbearable pain. Of smiling and pretending when you wish to jump of the building. Of going through the motions so that there is a degree of sanity for those around you.

Beth loses her child to a kidnapping. The story tracks her mind, her grief as a mother, her getting lost in that grief, leading to an almost emotional abandonment of her other surviving children and her disconnect with the relationships around her, with her. Nine years of surviving the loss, the lost child is found. And then the parents have to deal with not the lost son being returned but with a young person who has known no other parent but the kidnappers.

It’s a remarkable piece of literature to see Beth deal with the guilt of losing the child and having to be a mother or go through the motions of being a mother. It’s a tough book to go through. You can get lost in the depression the words create. Those of whom who have gone through traumatic situations can perhaps relate best. The act is of separating the devastating situation of loss with other parts of your life. Compartmentalising it. Boxing it in your mind and then opening the box some time when you’re alone. But you know the box is there all the time and what’s in it. Some of us do this almost at a cellular level. Routine. Some break down or get lost themselves in the despair they face.

The boxing, that’s the key to survival. Focus on the good things in your life. The things that almost all of us take for granted – our families, our job, the TV that works, a day when no bills have to be paid, your workout. Small stuff I guess but it makes up to be a good day.

Time heals all wounds. I don’t believe that fully. We have to consciously work at healing. Its time consuming, distasteful and makes us want to claw out our pain with both hands. But it does happen although slowly. You have to believe it or force yourself to believe. That’s the only way.


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