“No parent should have to bury their child.” – The first time I heard these words (Theoden, King of Rohan, LOTR), I was haunted by the depth of emotion behind them, and that emotion—a parent’s worst nightmare, wordless despair, the idea that nothing can ever be right again on losing a child—overwhelms me at odd times: when I’m particularly fearful of something, or when I just get a queasy feeling in my stomach and feel something is wrong with my child.
Of course, this is sheer paranoia. But what if it was not? For Nicola Simpson actually had a premonition that something was not right and tried to dissuade her daughter from going out, without much success. And a few hours later, she opened her door to a police officer who informed her that her 15-year old Abigail had died in a car accident.
‘To Daughter, with Love’ is Simpson’s story—a story of how she lost her daughter, her nerve-wracking and unimaginably terrifying journey through denial, resentment, and depression to, finally, acceptance and forgiveness. Of course, it’s not as easy as this sounds. Simpson details the suffering she went through on losing her daughter, the depression and just the inability to pick herself up to even move around. But she also speaks about the support and love she got from people around her, family and community. And finally, she describes how she was able to find inner peace and strength of mind to face the fact of her daughter’s absence.
The book is very simply written and conversational—it is almost like Simpson is sitting next to you and telling you her story. This book, which all parents can relate to, is evidently a very sad one and there are many passages that will move you to cry out along with the mother. But the ultimate message is one of hope and peace. The final message that you are left with is that our loved ones never truly go away—we can always feel their presence all around us in daily life, through memories and sometimes, even miracles.