What I read
If you–like me–need a novel that draws you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat, Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me fits the bill. I’ve had a bit of trouble staying focused enough to read over the past several months (more on that below) but this story held me fast. Newlyweds Hannah and Owen seem like the couple who has it all: she’s an artist, he works in Silicon Valley, they live on a houseboat, and their love story has a sweet Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks vibe to it. Except for the fact that Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter is less than enthusiastic about having a stepmother, their life is just about perfect.
Until one afternoon Hannah gets a single sheet of notebook paper delivered to her door, scrawled with a note from Owen: “Protect her.”
And then, dear Reader, we are off and running. Quite literally.
Because Owen has disappeared. His Silicon Valley boss is arrested for cooking the books. And the FBI is on Hannah’s doorstep. (Oh, and Owen stuffed a duffel bag of money in Bailey’s locker at school.) Hannah quickly discovers that “Owen” was not who he said he was. Nor, it seems, is Bailey. Based on a snippet of memory that Bailey has about her life before moving to San Francisco with her dad after her mother died, the girls are off to Austin, Texas–hoping to solve the mystery of who Owen was, and why he disappeared.
Hannah might be in over her head. But our heroine is scrappy and determined and has a big heart–she loves her unlovable stepdaughter and if she can’t find her husband, Hannah is determined to unlock the secrets of Bailey’s past. It’s quick and satisfying and just. plain. fun.
What I lived
It’s quite fitting that I’ve not posted for nine months. Because in that time I’ve birthed a new life. I’m on my own at sixty-something, the life I thought I would have shattered by fallout from addiction and financial infidelity. I lost my nest egg. I got a part-time job. And as if those changes weren’t enough, I spent five months caring for my elderly mom after she entered hospice care in her home last October.
So focusing on much of anything other than getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other was often difficult, if not impossible. I’ve learned to give myself grace and not make too many demands. Blogging was just one of the things I set aside for a while.
But although I am alone, there’s no despair here. For now I’ll just leave it at that–but not before I share with you a poem that says everything I care to say about the sorrow of carrying on while living with loss.