Emotional trauma at the hands of a paperback

Today, I feel bereft.

It is the kind of grief that follows you around, leaving a hole inside you and an ache in your heart.

It is ok, nobody close to me has died recently.  Not in a literal sense.

No, this is a self-inflicted grief.

You see, I have just finished reading an amazing book: Markus Zusak’s ‘Bridge Of Clay’.  I knew that it was going to be special before I opened the first page.  Zusak is my favourite author, and I have waited twelve years for him to complete this work.  I also knew that I would feel this way when I reached the end.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

I continued to read the 579 glorious pages, stopping occasionally for a brief interlude to read a different book, trying in vain to prolong the experience, not wanting the story to end.

Five hundred and seventy nine pages of dense, highly crafted prose.  After 400 pages my beloved favourite character died and yet I continued, riding the wave of grief I knew was going to peak to a king tide by the end.

For what else could I do?

As the narrator of Bridge Of Clay states:

“We can’t do anything.

One of us writes, and one of us reads.

We can’t do anything but me tell it, and you see it”.

He tells it.

I see it.

And I feel it.


So why am I writing about it? Because there is an intrinsic need in us for our grief to be a shared experience. I know others have felt this type of grief.  For some it’s books, others films, for others it is TV shows.

Game of Thrones anyone?

My husband still laments the way Sons Of Anarchy ended, insisting there needed to be some kind of alternative ending, simply so the series could continue.

A good friend was heavily invested in Offspring, and cried over Patrick’s death with the same ferocity as most of the country did when Molly died on A Country Practice.

When I first started reading John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars just after midnight one night in a bid to help me fall asleep, I kept reading until the end of the book found me at 3am, and kept hold of me, weeping uncontrollably until dawn.

It was the same when Izzy took Denny Duquette off the L-VAD machine in Grey’s Anatomy and he died of heart failure.  I wanted to lie on that bathroom floor with Izzy and never get up.

It is possible that some people even felt this kind of grief after the last episode of MAFS…..

Please understand that I am not trying to trivialize loss.

The good thing about this type of loss is that it is bite sized grief: it may initially take your breath away, but then slowly you are able to fold it up and carry it with you in your pocket.

It is not like the other type of grief, which can be all consuming, sitting just below your ribs, knowing it can squeeze your heart and suffocate you when you least expect it.

Still, today I feel bereft.

I will allow myself to feel this way for a week or two.  Maybe more.

But then.

The best bit.

I will open Bridge Of Clay to page one (after smilingly reading the hand written inscription from Zusak himself) and I will dive in, delighting in every one of those 579 pages.


I cannot wait.

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