Colors of Goodbye

Colors of Goodbye: A Memoir of Holding On, Letting Go, and Reclaiming Joy in the Wake of Loss is September Vaudrey's first book. I've been on a bit of a memoir kick lately in my reading, and I've always enjoyed a gripping true story. I wasn't sure how much I'd be able to relate to this book, considering that I've never lost a child in this way and my kids are much younger than September's. However, it sounded so interesting that I decided to pick it up anyway. When I first picked up this book, I was struck by how absolutely gorgeous it was. The cover is a rough draft of Katie's last painting, and her art, plus lots of photographs, are spread throughout the book. There's a photo section as well as a section explaining and talking about Katie's art pieces that were chosen from this book. There's also a selection of grief and loss books that September especially likes and recommends. The book description reads:

"What happens after the worst happens?
Before May 31, 2008, September Vaudrey’s life was beautiful. But on that day, with one phone call from the ER, her whole world―everything she knew and believed―was shaken to the core. Katie, her 19-year-old artist daughter, had been in a car accident and would not survive. How does a family live in the wake of devastating tragedy? When darkness colors every moment, is it possible to find light? Can God still be good, even after goodbye?

With the depth of C. S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed and the poignancy of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, Colors of Goodbye offers a moving glimpse into a mother’s heart. Combining literary narrative and raw reflection, September Vaudrey walks through one of life’s worst losses―the death of a child―and slowly becomes open to watching for the unexpected ways God carries her through it. It’s a story of love and tragedy in tandem; a deeply personal memoir from a life forever changed by one empty place. And at its core, Colors of Goodbye calls to the deepest part of our spirits to know that death is not the end . . . and that life can be beautiful still."

This is truly one of the best books I've ever read. Be sure to clear your schedule before you pick it up, because you won't put it down once you start. At times it was difficult for me to read due to how sad it was, and I teared up at various points throughout the book. However, there is so much hope and love and life in this book as well. I loved learning how September, Scott, and all the kids grieved in very different ways, yet learned how to respect each other's styles of grief. There were funny moments in the book too; September never lets the story get too heavy to bear. I loved her openness and honesty even in the difficult areas. Even if you've never suffered a loss such as this, there is so much you can learn from Colors of Goodbye. And speaking of colors, the way the story was broken up into sections by color was amazing. I thought it was not just original, but extremely fitting that the stages of grief were painted different colors. It fit together perfectly with the story and who Katie was. I found myself reluctantly turning the last page because I wasn't ready to stop reading about the Vaudrey family. Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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