Do Not Go Gentle: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Living on

Do Not Go Gentle: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Living on

by Marcia Sartwell


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Authentic, honest, and ultimately inspiring, "Do Not Go Gentle" takes an unflinching look at the emotions one feels when a beloved partner becomes desperately ill. The author traces the trajectory of this event through her husband's long decline, his death, her efforts to cope with grief and despair, and the slow rebuilding of her life. It is possible, Sartwell concludes, to have something absolutely devastating happen to you, to survive it, and to go on to have a fulfilling, even joyful, life.

The story begins in 1975, when the author, then a magazine editor, hires the talented, witty freelancer, Frank Sartwell, to write an article. It is the start of a mid-40's love story, a joyous, second-time-around for both. Less than a year after they marry, he becomes ill with emphysema. Though struggling with a sense of shock, the author is determined to make the most of the time they have left and to be the perfect caregiver. Yet within weeks she is struggling with her feelings--tender one moment, angry and despairing the next. Sartwell pours these feelings into a journal, which captures the intensity of the raw emotions and becomes, after his death, the basis for this book. But when friends are shocked by the book's frankness, she puts the manuscript away.

Years later, realizing finally that there is more in the book to comfort than to shock and that its honesty night help others feel less lonely as they confront grief, she adds a Epilogue and brings the book into the present.

The Epilogue is, in fact, a unique feature of this book. In contrast to the first part of the narrative, which focuses on the immediacy of grief, the Epilogue studies, from a perspective of thirty years, the long-term effects of loss on the remainder of a life. While not religious, the book ends with a moving affirmation of life. Sartwell's honesty about the bleakest times gives the redemptive turn at the end great emotional power.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781463703455
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 10/01/2011
Pages: 162
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.35(d)

About the Author

Marcia Sartwell has been a college English teacher and an editor. She was Director of Publications at The National Endowment for the Arts, where she edited a magazine, "The Cultural Post," as well as books and articles on the arts. She has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and at Western Maryland College and is co-author, with R.B. Hovey, of a scholarly book, "Hemingway: The Inward Terrain." Her articles and photographs have appeared in "Defenders" magazine. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

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