Recovering from the Death of a Loved One
In a conversation with Westporter Sybil Steinberg, contributing editor and former book review section editor for Publishers Weekly, poet and journalist Meghan O'Rourke discusses her memoir, The Long Goodbye, about the death of her mother and the grieving aftermath. In it, she ponders the eternal human question: how do we live with the knowledge that we will one day die?
O'Rourke's mother died of metastatic colorectal cancer on Christmas day 2008; the headmaster of a Westport, CT private school, she was only 55 years old, and left a stricken husband, two sons, and daughter O'Rourke, the eldest sibling. Anxious by nature, secretive, often emotionally brittle, O'Rourke grew acutely sensitive to her mother's changing states over the last months, desperate for a sign of her mother's love to carry her through the months of bereavement. O'Rourke heals herself in this pensive, cerebral work, moving from intense anguish and nostalgia to finding solace in dreams, sex, and the comforting words of other authors.
“Meghan O’Rourke has written a beautiful memoir about her loss of a truly irreplaceable mother-yes, it is sad, it is in fact heartrending, but it is many things more: courageous, inspiring, wonderfully intelligent and informed, and an intimate portrait of an American family as well.” — Joyce Carol Oates
NYT article by O'Rourke and Oates on grief.
Books will be available for purchase and signing. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Library.
Photo: Sarah Shat