Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

“Death, Grieving, and Journey Into the Past”

Posted by nliakos on April 19, 2015

by E. Z. Sala (in the ebook short story collection Pain and Healing, available at; 2015)

My webhead friend Nergiz sent me this story; she helped publish the book. This story follows Robert Bernardier, an elderly French gentleman whose wife Rosaline suddenly dies. It describes his shock at realizing that Rosaline is dead, how he tries in vain to resuscitate her, his remorse at not having learned CPR properly. It follows him through the first days as a widower, when his sister-in-law and friends frequent the house, and then later when people stop coming so often. It examines his feelings of helplessness and loneliness as depression sets in. The loss of his wife brings back the pain of having lost both of his children as young adults. Eventually, he begins to take care of his house and garden again; these activities begin to heal him. Finally, he undertakes a trip to the place where his son Pierre went missing in action while serving in the military. In his dreams, he promises Rosaline that he will find Pierre’s body and bring it back to France to be buried alongside her; but when he finally finds Pierre, he discovers that bringing him home is not as simple as he had thought. The story is sad, but it shows how grief eventually gives way to purpose and to a return to a life that may be different, but is worth living all the same.

There are four other stories in the book: “Divorce, Destitution, Despair, and All That Begins with D Except Death”; “On a Shore Landed a Man Who Once Dispensed Pain”; “Dreams, Pain, and Soothing”; and “War, the Mother of All.” I have not read those.

Thanks, Nergiz, for this story.



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