The Lively Shadow: Living with the Death of a Child

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Ballantine Books, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 193 pages
"Remembering may be a celebration or it may be a dagger in the heart, but it is better, far better, than forgetting."--Donald M. Murray

It is the hardest thing anyone can face--the death of a child. A tragedy that has affected millions also touched Donald M. Murray, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Boston Globe, twenty-five years ago. Now, for the first time, he fully expresses what he lost--and learned--in a book even more moving than his inspiring volume on aging, My Twice-Lived Life.

Lee Murray was Donald and Minnie Mae's middle child, one of three girls. An avid oboe player accepted by a prestigious conservatory, the family "caretaker" with compassion for everyone, a young woman with a devoted boyfriend and the whole world ahead of her--Lee succumbed at age twenty to Reye's Syndrome, commonly considered a childhood illness. In The Lively Shadow, her father remembers the hell of her passing and the healing it took him years to finally experience.

From hearing the initial news that Lee was in the hospital and the four harrowing days spent by her bedside, to trying to teach, write, and love others while grieving, to learning to live at last with only Lee's memory, Donald Murray embarks upon a journey that is at once universal and informed by his own life's details. Whether he's feeling irrational guilt at not being able to protect his child or pulling off the highway to release a primal howl, the pain Murray feels brings him finally to a place of peace, an acceptance whereby he realizes "the most terrible experience in my life has also been a gift," requiring "a continuous celebration of the commonplace."

Unflinching in its honesty, The Lively Shadow is a beloved author's most impressive achievement--a book bound to be of continuing comfort to anyone who has lost a loved one, a touchstone on a topic few have written about, let alone addressed so openly.

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Hello, My name is Renee, I am 28 years old, have been married for 6 years, and we have 3 beautiful,amazing children.Josh who is 9,Ana who is 7,and Madison who is 5.Alright now to the point, right? We have been told since our first born daughter was 18 months, that she has NERO-DEGENITIVE DISORDER.For almost 6 YEARS(5 for sure) no one,no one, NO ONE! Specialists,Doctors,residents,interns, nurses, technicians,person after person whom my husband Billy,and I meet try to explain to us that "Ana is a puzzle". But that don't make much sense,how in this whole BIG wonderful world,how does ANYONE not know what's going on with our sweet Ana.
Well that is what brings me to writing this review.Words like Praise, Thanks,and understanding come to me as I get to know of all the emotions that we will have to endure when Ana is "called upon".I also will try to write a book.People deserve to know Ana when she was able to walk, talk,laugh,cry,and just being a "normal" 2 year old.Her father,brother,sister,friends,family, and I WILL NOT GIVE UP HOPE.This once again is to tell the Murray family THANK YOU for sharing Lee's story, it Still touches the hearts of many us. THANK YOU.
(Albuquerque,New Mexico)


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About the author (2003)

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Donald M. Murray writes the weekly “Now and Then” column for The Boston Globe. Boston Magazine and The Improper Bostonian magazine selected him best columnist in Boston in 1991 and 1996, respectively. He is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Hampshire, which opened the Donald M. Murray Journalism Laboratory in 1997. His books include My Twice-Lived Life, Write to Learn, The Craft of Revision, Writing to Deadline, and Crafting a Life in Essay, Story, Poem.

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