Alexis Marie Chute and her husband Aaron lost their second child, their son Zachary, minutes after his birth due to a heart condition called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. For a year, Chute descended into what she calls her “Year of Distraction,” in which she was unable to function or focus for grief. On emerging from that year of mourning, she became pregnant once more, hoping desperately this time for a healthy baby. This book is a narrative of that pregnancy, full of anxiety, anticipation, fear, healing, and hope.
There are few if any losses in life that match the heartbreak of losing a child, and this book is an achingly beautiful response to such a loss. This is a straightforward, honest, day-by-day first-person account, all the more effective for being simply and clearly told, without melodrama but with an lovely, lyrical, almost poetic writing style. Chute holds nothing back, from her anger at God to marital stresses to her panicked anxiety at the thought of possibly losing either this new pregnancy or her oldest child, her cherished daughter Hannah. However, there are moments of brilliant sunshine that illuminate the book as well, as when she hears her new baby’s heartbeat for the first time, singing a refrain of “I am alive, I am well, I am here.”
Bring a handkerchief either way – tears of sorrow and tears of joy are intertwined throughout the book. The honesty and the clarity of the writing make this an invaluable resource not only for those who have lost a baby to miscarriage, stillbirth, or early death, but also to their friends and family, who may be unsure of what to say or how to approach their loved one’s grief. Chute openly and directly discusses what helped her and what did not – the gentleness, openness, and warmth of her devout Aunt Ruth’s approach to her doubts about religion and faith versus the overbearing dogmatism of some members of her Mourning Together group, for example. The result is a book that is useful as well as deeply heartwarming.
EXPECTING SUNSHINE is an invaluable resource for those dealing with loss, as well as a beautifully-told story of grief, hope, healing and love.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader