Hi all! So for my current grief and bereavement class we were assigned the book Hannah’s Gift: Lessons from a Life Fully Lived. Long story short, it was incredible. Rather than trying to explain how I felt about it, I’m just going to copy and paste part of my review paper for it. Our assignment required us to write a reflection on our thoughts on the book and how it related to the topics discussed in class.
I highly recommend it.
Note: if you haven’t read the book yet, there may be some spoiler alerts below 😉
” I would be lying if I said that this book was easy for me to read. As much as I can talk about how the themes she writes about relate to our class, what struck me as more important in reading this book was the way in which the themes she writes about relate to me. As we have been learning, grief and the feeling of loss come in more forms than just the death of a loved one. With that, I can say that I have been working through various forms of grief my whole life. Hannah’s Gift has been a reminder that death and dying are a normal part of life and that while no two people will suffer the same, no two people will heal the same either.
As a former oncology patient, I have spent my life trying to find ways of relating with people on a level far deeper than surface appearances and traditional experiences. In reading this book, I found an array of ways in which I could relate – to Maria, to Will, to Claude, and to Hannah. On page 133, I had to stop reading; I told myself I could not finish this book and that I would have to complete my assignment based on what information I was given. I remember page 133 because of what was written on it, and because of just how much I related to it. Hannah asked her grandmother to promise her that she would never forget her. I read this page through Maria’s voice, but I saw the scene through Hannah’s eyes. It was on this page that I realized that I had been Hannah at one point, and I asked many of these questions, this one in particular. I put the book down and told myself that I should stop reading. I knew how the story ended – Hannah died – and I did not want to continue. However, the next day I told myself that not only do I need to finish the book so I can properly complete my assignment, but that stories do not end just because someone dies. I was right. Hannah’s death is documented on page 163 but Housden’s writing continues long into the 200’s. This was a reminder I needed; life goes on after people die, and we still have the ability to prosper from the pain. Beautiful things can come from tragedy – Hannah’s Gift is a testament to that.
There is no doubting that Hannah’s Gift is incredibly written. The sheer emotion that is expressed through Housden’s writing is so real and so clearly evident. As you are reading this book you can almost feel her reliving each memory as she writes it down. Having something so memorable and so timeless as a story written in such detail, is an incredible memory and one that I sincerely hope Hannah’s siblings have had the opportunity to read and grow from. Thank you, Belinda, for adding this book to our assigned readings for this course. I truly do feel that from reading this I have learned so much. As I read this book I felt the need to get closer to Hannah with each page I flipped. I felt this urge to get to know her and to understand how her young mind worked; so brave, so strong, and so wise beyond her years. This will be a story that I keep with me for a long time. Thank you for introducing me to the angel that is Hannah Martell. “