Sunday, November 17, 2013

Chico author on coming to terms with the loss of a son


In her first book, "The Third Floor," Chico businesswoman Judi Loren Grace told her own heart-wrenching story, "forced to relinquish an infant as a teen mom." Her new book is about loss as well. "Dreamscape in A minor" ($19.95 in paperback from Jetstream Publishing,; also available in Amazon Kindle format) is the story of Jeff, "my second son, the oldest of the three children whom I had the privilege to raise. This is about a lost life, one that fell through the cracks."

The book is written to Jeff, a long letter of love from a mother who didn't understand, or wouldn't accept, the warning signs. "I'm bringing my son back to life," Loren Grace writes, "for you to get to know and love as we, his family, did. Jeff died too soon, far too young, leaving an unfinished life."

"He left no note," she continues, "but as I look back I realize that in his own way, he did say a proper goodbye. Here is the story of our family--the joy and grief, the anger and love, the frustration and pride, the comedy and tragedy, the laughs and tears, and the coincidences and memories that follow. The conflicting emotions and apparent inconsistencies in this story are the twenty-four year aftermath of living with Jeff's suicide and my father's connected death."

A section of family photographs suggests nothing amiss, adding to the poignancy of the story, recounted in sometimes searing detail as the author attempts to make sense of Jeff's death at twenty-one.

"My son," she writes, "you seemed so hostile and explosive, whether with anger or laughter, that you'd think any mother would know their child is losing their grip on sanity. Your highs and the lows began to get closer together as the rest of us went about our daily lives, expecting and waiting for you to do the same; waiting for you to snap out of it and get on with your life." It was not to be.

A presentation and book signing will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 21 at Lyon Books in Chico. There will also be a signing Saturday, December 7 at 1:00 p.m. at Satori Color and Hair Design, Broadway and 7th St. in Chico.

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