Colors of Goodbye is one of those books that touched me so deeply that I already know my mere words can not possibly adequately do it justice. September writes with such a raw honesty that you almost feel what she’s feeling. I cried so many times throughout this book for a family I don’t know and a girl whose life was cut short way too early.
I hadn’t experienced real grief until this past year when my dad died. I think before that maybe it wouldn’t have had the same effect on me. I felt like her words could have been written by me and I experienced many of the same thoughts and emotions. The numbness, the shock, the wonder at how people are just walking around like normal when the whole world has changed for those who lost someone, the strange things people say, the people who say nothing at all. It all resonated with me and will for anyone who has walked through grief. For those who haven’t, maybe it’ll give some insight on what others are experiencing.
While I now understand grief I can not possibly begin to imagine the shock and agony of losing a child. It is my worst fear in life. Without the grace of God I don’t know how people survive it. The Vaudrey’s have with beauty and grace in the midst of their turmoil.
September shared her story without reservation or holding back any of the ugly sides of grief. Her authenticity is refreshing and relatable to anyone who has lost someone. It’s also a relief. A relief to know that while everyone processes their grief differently, they do share many of the same emotions.
September did the life of her daughter Katie justice in Colors of Goodbye. The inclusion of Katie’s artwork on the cover, the title, the pictures at the end and September’s words all pay tribute to a girl you can’t help but fall in love with. Her story touched me deeply and it was a life that while short lived, was lived well. It inspired me to do better, live fuller, love more.
I will never understand people so young dying. But God has taken this story and used it for his glory and that is a gift this family can hold dear until they see her again.
About the Book
Before May 31, 2008, September Vaudrey’s life was beautiful. But on that day, with one phone call from the ER, her whole world―everything she knew and believed―was shaken to the core. Katie, her 19-year-old artist daughter, had been in a car accident and would not survive. How does a family live in the wake of devastating tragedy? When darkness colors every moment, is it possible to find light? Can God still be good, even after goodbye?
With the depth of C. S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed and the poignancy of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, Colors of Goodbye offers a moving glimpse into a mother’s heart. Combining literary narrative and raw reflection, September Vaudrey walks through one of life’s worst losses―the death of a child―and slowly becomes open to watching for the unexpected ways God carries her through it. It’s a story of love and tragedy in tandem; a deeply personal memoir from a life forever changed by one empty place. And at its core, Colors of Goodbye calls to the deepest part of our spirits to know that death is not the end . . . and that life can be beautiful still.
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