Sorrow is "not a state, but a process" that needs "not a map but a history...There is something new to be chronicled every day," writes C. S. Lewis in "A Grief Observed". When Carl Klaus's wife of thirty-five years died suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage, right before Thanksgiving in 2002, he took the only road toward recovery that made sense to him: he started writing letters to her, producing a unique history of grief, solace, and love. His vivid and thoughtful letters will resonate with everyone whose loss confronts them with emotional, psychological, and philosophical questions for which there are no easy answers. During his first year without Kate, Carl writes himself into the life that comes after the life he loved. From days of grief in the darkness of a midwestern winter, to springtime, with a return to life in the garden and a memorial service for Kate on a sunny afternoon, to fall, with a pilgrimage to their favorite vacation spot in Hawaii, Carl documents his year-long experience of remembering, meditating, and evolving a new life. Individually, his letters provide the insights of a master diarist; collectively, they have the arc of a master essayist.
Recording the full range of mourning from intense shock to moments of exceptional affirmation, Klaus's stories and reflections on loss bear witness to universal truths about the first and most significant year of mourning.
Carl Klaus, founding director of the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program and professor emeritus of English at the University of Iowa, is a diarist, essayist, and author of My Vegetable Love, its companion Weathering Winter, and Taking Retirement.
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