Friday, April 5, 2013

A Kiss Before You Go




A Kiss Before You Go: An Illustrated Memoir of Love and Loss by Danny Gregory is a very special book. It tells the story, in hand written words and hand drawn illustrations, of the death -- and life -- of his wife Patti. I asked Danny to share a few words with my readers, and this is what he had to say:

"Patti and I shared so much over the twenty-four years we were together: her paraplegia, raising our son, lots of adventure, laughs and love. When she died in a horrible accident, I had to face a completely new life and approach it day by day. "A Kiss Before You Go" is an illustrated record of our years together and my first year alone. It covers sad events but ultimately it's a book about loving and living, about beauty in its many shades. I hope reading it brings as much to you as writing it did to me."

The emotions that he conveys on these pages are painfully familiar to me and I read this book, cover to cover, in one sitting...not able to put it down. So many passages resonated deeply with me but one in particular struck home:

"A year ago they told me it would take a year to get over it. Now I know - there is no getting over it. Ever. That I will always be cracked and reglued and that no matter what new chapters I write, there will always be tearstained pages, their ink running."

This book ought to be "required reading" for every person who has lost somebody close. Danny has a gift in being able to capture and present the raw truth fearlessly and without pretense. This book is deeply personal and intimate and the details that Danny shares clearly belong only to him. And yet the words he chooses and the illustrations he creates are achingly familiar and belong to us all. That accomplishment, as a writer and an artist, is no easy feat. And this book, is not to be missed.

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Sending out congratulations to Barbara Israel, winner of my recent giveaway and a signed copy of An Altered Existence by Melody Nunez!

16 comments:

Kathryn said...

Those of us who have suffered loss of any kind know just how painful it can be. I lost my father ten years ago but some days it can feel like it was just yesterday. I can be healing to write about love and loss and I hope that it brought him some comfort. Definitely one I will be interested in checking out.

elle said...

What a great title for a touching book!

Maureen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maureen said...

What a beautiful way to remember and pay homage to the person who shares his life. I use the present tense intentionally.

People always remark on "the process" and "five stages" that accompany loss. One never "gets over" someone who is loved. My late brother is as present for me now as when he was alive, though the sound of his voice in my head is diminishing. Similarly, how my father looked the day he died suddenly in front of me is as powerful as that day itself. The pain gets pushed deeper, if we're lucky, so that we are enabled to go on with our lives. That's called resilience. Love especially is that.

Thank you for highlight this book, which I've added to my list.

Lynn Cohen said...

I have Danny's book, A Kiss before You Go... I try reading it in spurts, but my tears get in the way of turning the next page, so I put it down, wait; read a few more pages, shed a few more tears; leant it a friend, when it comes back I'll try again. I agree it's a terrific book on a very important subject, that cuts to the quick, beautifully illustrated, poignant,
moving, heart wrenching, sad, and hopeful all at the same time. Hugs to everyone who is touched by this book, yourself included, Seth.

Caterina Giglio said...

cracked and reglued... exactly...

mansuetude said...

here is courage!


.
a year is not enough

trish quilty said...

I have been there also losing my wonderful husband after 24 years together, of a senseless agent orange cancer, as it wafted over the forests of Vietnam. It is always with me; one never gets over it and it now has been 22 years! One moves on, but that sadness is always present.

Debrina said...

It's been 16 years since I lost one of my best friends (ever) to a mountaineering accident. The time to commemorate his passing is fast approaching again - his death is celebrated on the day my son was born. Coincidence? I think not. Jason's birth on Lenny's death day highlights the profoundness of life and death and this magnificent universe we live in.

Leslie said...

I'm going right over to buy this book. Thanks.

ArtPropelled said...

I've just put this book on my wish list. Thanks for mentioning it Seth.

Marilyn said...

Such a sad loss for him and his son. I will order this and read it. Danny is responsible for my venturing into the art/artist world.

Darlene K Campbell said...

Yes, I love Danny Gregory's work and this book is at the top of the list. Great interview Seth.

Ella said...

Thank you Seth for sharing! It takes a lot of talent to be able to transcend these emotions. I will be sure to check it out~ We all have our own journeys, but we all are touched by life and death!
Again thank you!

Jacki Long said...

Yes, I read this book and the tears came. I recognized some of the words and empathized with the rest. His drawings were so emotionally perfect. Just a treasure of a book.

Dede Warren said...

I'm glad you shared Danny's book here as well as your thoughts on it. I've lost many close family and friends... so trusting your judgement, it sounds like something I should read.