MyVillager: Gilats pens a hard-won guide to overcoming overwhelming grief

An intensely moving and revelatory memoir of enduring and emerging from exceptional grief"It is one thing to grieve and ultimately recover, but it is another to live in a chronic state of acute grief for nearly 20 years,” writes Andrea Gilats in her book, After Effects: A Memoir of Complicated Grief.

She and her husband, Thomas Dayton, had been married for 20 years, living all of that time in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood. Though grief at the death of a loved one is natural and even healthy, Gilats said she was debilitated for more than a decade, feeling desolate and alienated, isolating herself from friends and family, struggling at work and yearning for her husband.

Gilats was finally able to go back and read the 754 letters she wrote to her husband in the first two years of widowhood. “They were my way of sharing my day-to-day life with him,” she said. “Looking back on it, I think it’s possible that my daily letter writing habit may have saved my life.”

As she read the letters, she realized that sharing her story might help others who suffer from complicated grief. The result, After Effects: A Memoir of Complicated Grief, encompasses 20 years of her life.

“So even though it begins with inconsolable sadness, it concludes with a sense of hard-won hope,” Gilats said. “Though our grief remains with us all our lives, it eventually moderates and softens. Writing After Effects helped me understand that even complicated grief need not prevent us from experiencing joy in living.”

Article at MyVillager.

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