The Bright Hour

Over the past two years, I’ve been a magnet to books concerning death. Last week, I picked up The Bright Hour off the top of my “to read” pile of books and it broke my heart every night. It’s a memoir and it’s about trying to fight cancer while living and simultaneously dying…at the age of 38.

To be totally honest, I don’t know how book reviews are supposed to go. Without spoiling it, what do I talk about? I’ll share a few things (or quotes) that stuck with me.

Grief. Such Bullshit.

There’s a part in the memoir where Nina, the author, talks to her friend about losing her mother to cancer. Her friend Ginny says, “It’s such bullshit that there are plenty of Joan Crawfords and assholes like my husband running around among us and your mom is not.” I remember feeling this way at my grandpa’s funeral. When you read something like that in a printed book, you feel a little better. Like you aren’t some awful person.

Living Alongside People.

This book reminded me of what living alongside people can truly look like. It’s easy for me to get selfish with my time. To shrink back when things get tough or awkward or difficult. Nina’s friends and family are throughout the entire book, caring for her in the least cliche ways. Instead of bringing a casserole or contributing to a GoFundMe or “thinking” of someone, what would it look like to check in every day or take someone to their weekly doctor’s appointment or help raise someone’s kids? I want to get better at the latter this decade of my life.

Embrace When You’re Able.

There will be periods of time in our lives where we’re able to travel, able to move, able to hear, able to invest. This book was a huge reminder to embrace those moments. Some will be fleeting, others will last a lifetime but we won’t really know until it’s over.

May 10, 2018