If I could give this memoir 10 stars I would. If you are in a care-giving situation for your parents, buy, beg , borrow or steal a copy of this book. It will comfort and guide you through the loneliness of losing your parents while they are still physically alive.
SO FAR AWAY has had me crying - no, sobbing - inconsolably for the past two days as I read it. I am drained and exhausted and utterly relieved that I am no longer alone in my journey of grief. That there is a way through this loss; there is even life at the end of this seemingly endless road that has drained all my energy, my enthusiasm and my optimism, turning me ever more isolationist and remote from real life.
What makes this book special is that Dr Hartmann's life, losses and love are mine too. Reading Hartmann's story allowed me to cry for her that which I cannot yet cry for myself: the loss of my hero, my "pardner," my beloved Dad.
I could cry, too, for the fading of that strong light that was the hallmark of my courageous Mom, her joie de vivre overshadowed now by the endless day-to-day caring of the physical body that houses the lost soul of her husband and my father.
Hartmann's compassionate, endless caring, the relentless journey to understand both herself and her parent's emotional wounds fill this memoir and made me realise that I too carry a deep private grief and double loss inside me.
She reminds me what I had forgotten: that this cycle of life, too, can be a path of mutual love and respect between special parents and a daughter they had, despite their own wounds and private griefs, always surrounded in love and support.
The subtitle of this book is that it's a "memoir about life, loss and love." Ultimately, SO FAR AWAY is simply an Ode to Love and it has gifted me with the memory of love at its best. I know once again that connections forged in love ever remain.
SO FAR AWAY has "soothed the ragged tears of my heart" and, for that, I sincerely thank Christine Hartmann for having the courage to so honestly share her life, loss and love with us.