While the death of a parent is always painful, losing both is life-altering. When author Allison Gilbert lost both parents at age 32, she could not find any books that spoke to her with the same level of compassion and reassurance that she found in the support group she belonged to, so she decided to write one of her own. The result is a sensitive and candid portrayal of loss that brings together experiences from famous and ordinary grief-stricken sons and daughters that explores the regrets, heartache and sometimes, relief, that accompanies pain and healing.
Always Too Soon provides a range of intimate conversations with those, famous and not, who have lost both parents, providing readers with a source of comfort and inspiration as they learn to negotiate their new place in the world.
Contributors include Hope Edelman, Geraldine Ferraro, Dennis Franz, Barbara Ehrenreich, Yogi Berra, Rosanne Cash, and Ice-T, as well as those who lost parents to the Oklahoma City bombing, the World Trade Center bombings, drunk driving, and more.
For this compilation, Gilbert, a producer of CNN's American Morning, interviewed 20 men and women from the ordinary to celebrities like Ice-T and Yogi Berra who have lost both parents. The collected short memoirs are all quite moving, though the interview style leads to some pedestrian prose. The contributors' experiences vary widely. Barbara Ehrenreich's father died of Alzheimer's; her mother's premature death may have been a suicide, and she discusses the sadness that overwhelmed her in contemplating her mother's unfulfilled life. In a tragic story, journalist Jeff Gelman tells how, when he was 14, his parents were killed by a drunk driver. Singer Shelby Lynne's father shot her mother and then turned the gun on himself when Lynne was a teenager. Catheryne Ilkovic Morgan's peaceful childhood in Czechoslovakia ended when the Nazis invaded and she subsequently lost both her parents at Auschwitz. Now 76, Morgan comments that time does not heal, but that her greatest joy is to see the future generation. These stories of bereavement and consolation will strike a chord with those who have lived through the deaths of one or both parents.