The parental instinct of almost every parent entails that their biggest fear is having to bury their child. It is virtually every parent’s worst nightmare. For Jayson and Stacy Greene, this nightmare came to pass and in Once More We Saw Stars, Jayson writes about the death of their 2-year-old daughter. It is a memoir of pain, grief and a search for healing. The poignancy of the memoir lies in its brutal honesty. Jayson Greene is able to capture the pain and brokenness that is experienced by not just him and his wife, but also how the sudden death of Greta impacted the dynamics of their extended family.
While spending a weekend with her grandmother Susan and sitting on a bench outside Susan’s apartment, a brick falls from the 8th floor and lands on Greta’s head. She is rushed to the hospital and never makes it out alive. One minute, Jayson and Susan were overwhelmed by parental duties and sending Greta to spend the weekend with her grandmother, the next minute they were making decisions about donating Greta’s organs after she was pronounced brain dead. There is never a good time to suffer the loss of a loved one (I knew that after recently losing a parent after a prolonged illness that made being alive seem like the 2nd best option), it is worse when such loss is sudden and involves a young offspring. This is the measure of pain and grief that the Greenes are struck with. The pain and attendant grief reconfigures their extended family. Because grief has no manual, relationships within the extended family are tested in diverse manners. Stacy and Jayson struggle to make sense of their loss. It is in times of crisis that o belief systems are questioned. The Greenes seek healing and closure from almost every available means; grief resorts, psychologists and even consult a medium despite being atheists.
Once More We Saw Stars is a poignant and vulnerable journey of one couple’s journey in search of healing from their grief and pain after a devastating loss. It is well-written and vulnerable. The only minus I have with the book is that the author’s writing is a bit too superfluous and colourful for my liking. Excessive descriptions of objects, persons and scenery come off as a bit pretentious. Apart from this, this is as good a memoir of grief as one can wish to access.