Lately death has been intersecting my life- friends and acquaintances dealing with lives cut short, terminal illness, tragedy. It seems to come in batches, doesn't it. Like death is a person and when he comes calling for anyone near us he hangs around for awhile casting a shadow on our days, our thoughts, weighing heavy on our hearts.
Last week I finished the book I was reading. I love the feeling of finishing a book. I love the sense of accomplishment but, more than anything, I love that the world of books is open again. Hmmm...where will I go next, what adventure will I share? In the library, I'm like a kid in a candy shop. It's just too hard to decide when faced with the endless shelves of stories waiting to be read. Finally I narrowed down the choices and went home with four books, including Each Little Bird That Sings by a new favorite author, Deborah Wiles. I had no idea what the story was about.
I was a little surprised when I realized the book is about a girl whose family runs a funeral home. REALLY? Was death looming that large over every aspect of my life? Well, I thought, it may help me gain some insight. It is a children's book, after all, so I knew the subject would be handled with care. Maybe this could soothe my heart.
I love a book set in a small Southern town filled with quirky characters named funny names like Peach and Comfort. I love a book that makes you cry when you least expect it. I love a book that displays the heartbreaking beauty of life so vividly it takes your breath away. This is just that kind of book and Deborah Wiles is that kind of author. There is a forward that sets the stage when she reveals that this book was written out of her own personal experience of surviving a significant death, which makes me want to hug her even more.
The quote which sums up the book (without giving anything away in case you want to read it) is spoken by great-uncle Edisto who spent his life dealing with death:
Open your arms to life! Let it strut into your heart
in all it's messy glory!
When life seems so fragile and it appears that tragedy is lurking around ever corner, "It takes courage to look life in the eye and say yes to the messy glory". In the end, a life lived without challenge, without tears, isn't living at all.
Thank you Deborah for using your pain to create a beautiful story that we all can share. Thank you for reminding us of the messiness of life. Thank you for reminding us to embrace it anyway.
PS. Check out the SHOP tab at the top of the page to see this book and others by the author.