A powerful exploration of grief following the death of the author’s son that combines memoir, reportage, and lessons in how to heal
Everyone deals with grief in their own way. Helen MacDonald found solace in training a wild goshawk. Cheryl Strayed found comfort in hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. For Carol Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist struggling with the sudden death of her seven-year-old son Christopher, the way to cross the river of sorrow was through work.
In Crossing the River, Smith recounts how she faced down her crippling loss through reporting a series of profiles of people coping with their own intense challenges, whether a freak accident, a debilitating injury, or a terrifying diagnosis. Smith deftly mixes the stories of these individuals and their families with her own account of how they helped her heal. General John Shalikashvili, once the most powerful member of the American military, taught Carol how to face fear with discipline and endurance. Seth, a young boy with a rare and incurable illness, shed light on the totality of her son’s experiences, and in turn helps readers see that the value of a life is not measured in days.
This is a beautiful and profoundly moving book, an unforgettable journey through grief, and a valuable, illuminating read for anyone coping with loss.