Broken for Good: How Grief Awoke My Greatest Hopes

Broken for Good: How Grief Awoke My Greatest Hopes

Rebecca Rene Jones

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 145553806X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A daughter's narrative about life with and without her father, whose death plunges her into deep grief but gradually becomes her most compelling reason to hope.

Like so many Christian women, Rebecca, her mother, and her two sisters love a man who does not walk beside them in faith. As his cancer returns after a year of remission, they face his last days. As the women in his life struggle to savor their final times together and let go, he finally reaches out to God, and tells them so. Her father's death opens the landscape of heaven and hope to her. She beautifully renders those visions as well as the underbelly of sorrow as she is finally forced to wake up to the world, to new hungers, and to a far more dangerous faith. Here is a spiritual coming of age manifesto that will take its place alongside Voskamp and Lamott as uplifting writing on loss, grief, and growing up, quick.

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and pipe flowers onto birthday cakes at a local bakery. And Mom: She lived the staccato of substitute teaching, using her free days to rake the house, tying loose ends—helping Dad die to a telemarketer, I’m sorry, sir, he doesn’t live here anymore, blotting his name from a bill, smudging him out from the basement laundry room with each folded pair of underwear. It was down there, helping Mom switch loads late one morning, that I realized how right my decision to stop school had been. I looked

worried it was because he was weak at that moment, maybe fighting a wave of nausea, but the strange thing was, it stayed that way. Conversation had become bristly, barbed much of the time he was sick; he was brooding, and moody, and silent. He shot us skipping stones, flat and heavy one-word answers that bounced once, or twice, or three times on surface before they sank clean out of sight. He barked, and snarled, and sometimes even walked away when we called out. The morning of my graduation

be hungry? I keep my ears up. Perked and ready, panning for clues. And once I learn what I’m looking for, I become somewhat better at spotting it: the hints and winks that tell me that, deep down, perhaps he is still hungry a little. Turns out, soul hunger can sound a whole lot like music, which makes sense, when you stop and really consider it: all that reaching out and aching forward. And as I get a bit better at playing Nancy, I learn to unbutton and unmask, and it’s as thrilling as finding

to the fourteenth verse where she’s laid anchor. Try to be patient, to be consistent, she says. And most of all: Trust. So, even by age seven, my home is my home, but it’s also become a bit of a mission field. And a stage. I am always aware of Dad’s eyes on me; I am always so sure that I have to love him in an impossibly winsome way. I am convinced that all of it counts—absolutely all of it—and worry that I’ll somehow spoil it. That he will see the uncut version, me unabridged; I know everything

is exposed and everything matters. He will be weighing it all to see if I really mean what I say, if my faith is more than a sweet butter frosting. If I am more than my string of Sundays. As much as I focus on leaking light, I also feel the opposite: that I am folding in. I begin bottling up part of me. Not on purpose, but I ferret out the moments when Mom and I are alone. She sits at the foot of my bed, my rose spread folded back in thirds, streetlamps low, and I ask her all the impossible

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