Sometimes, weird things happen. Last week, I had just finished writing a guest blog for So You’ve Been Dumped on my favourite self-help books. One of my all time picks, You Can Be Happy No Matter What, by Richard Carlson, was one of them. Carlson authored the Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff series and his happiness book in particular was my go-to guide during a dark patch in my life. I made a mental note to find out if he’d written anything lately, so I could check it out.
The very same day, a new book – Heartbroken Open – arrived at RC HQ. I noticed it was written by Kristine Carlson. Coincidence? Not hardly. She was married to Richard. I say ‘was’, because he actually died several years ago, at the age of 45, on an aeroplane, due to a pulmonary embolism. This book arriving was the first I’d heard of his death and I have to say I was a little spooked that it appeared just as I’d placed his down. But, signs and coincidences are plentiful in Kristine’s memoir about surviving the grief that toppled her after Richard’s sudden death, and she writes from the heart. It’s an honest and often very raw look at how she and her two teenage daughters came to grips with those grief-stricken early days, how they coped with others’ reactions and often clumsy words of comfort, and the techniques that helped them move on and heal. A mantra Richard had written about – ‘surrender, trust, accept’ – became Kristine’s lifeline. ‘After Richard died I could see myself drowning and dying and I could see myself living and grieving … The loss of my dearest friend and life partner knocked me down in a big way but I not only got back up, I got back up to live life more fully awake,’ she writes.
RC Verdict: Inspirational reading for anyone who has, or is, navigating their way through a massive hardship or loss.