I sometimes wonder if I am a glutton for punishment. There was no mistaking when I picked up Colors of Goodbye by September Vaudrey that it would be an emotional book, after all, it's a memoir of holding on, letting go, and reclaiming joy in the wake of loss.
I figured it wouldn't be as emotional for me since Katie was older (19) and died in a different way than my own (car accident after an aneurysm). I was wrong. Reading the pain, the memories, the thoughts of a mother who lost a child is just as gut wrenching no matter the age, no matter the way the child passed. As heartbreaking as this book was, it also was deeply healing.
While I recommend this book to anyone who has lost a child or knows someone who has lost a child or someone else close to them, I'd also recommend it to anyone human, as it shows that one can face the ultimate pain in life and still see the good. As Vaudrey points out on page 226: "Life is hard, and tragedy strikes. Also, life is stunningly beautiful. Both/and. But our circumstances do not have the power to steal our joy without our permission. If our purpose, our identity, our sense of God's direction hinged upon a pain-free life, how precarious the world would be. How weak God would be. How few would ever find joy."
"I now knew from personal experience that the same God who allows pain to enter our lives also sends us comfort, His presences, and more strength than we thought we possessed. And with the sorrow, He extends an invitation for the transformation of our character and a richer, wiser appreciation of life."
Vaudrey writes with such passion about Katie and the rest of her family that you fall in love with them all and feel their pain. She digs deep into what a loss such as this can do to a person, to a family, to a marriage. But she also brings hope, as well as perspective. "As much as I hate the answer I got when I prayed for Katie, I can't call foul. God never guaranteed me a lifetime with her. He never promised me any of the blessings I get to treasure every day. He promises us comfort in sorrow, strength when our own fails, inexplicable peace, His presence in storms, and life in all its fullness for those who follow Him - but not a pain-free life. And the things He promises, He delivers."
This is such a beautiful book, both the writing as well as the family pictures and Katie's artwork.
This book was sent to be by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.