Two Kisses for Maddy: A widow reviews Matt Logelin's memoir

Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love, the new memoir by our friend, Matt Logelin, stands out among the passel of recent books by widowed people about their experiences. With a combination of grace and profanity, Logelin shares his life and love leading up to the death of his beautiful wife, just a day after delivering their daughter, Maddy, and his path upwards as a father and as a man since then.

Readers of Logelin's blog are familiar with his "story" (uh, we used to call it a "life?") but will be happy to find the book not only original, but as heartfelt and black-humorous as his other writings. It's meaty without being gloomy at all.


Two types of people in the world

During my undergraduate class in Homer, I learned there are two types of people: Iliad people (emotion, war, death, loss) and Odyssey people (exploration, magic, critters, homecoming). Our small department taught just one of these each year, and I was thankful to have hit year two when the Iliad was "on" so I could enjoy the language without resisting my grain.

By senior year, after a few real-world jobs and other dabbling in the adult world that "deals," I’d decided there were, instead, two types of people in this world: people who divide the world into two types of people, and everyone else. I was determined to join the latter group though I  knew it would be a tough transition.

I was tired of black and white.


Peace online: one comment

I could write scores of pages on why I hate the whole "fight cancer with hope" thing, but it's still a trigger for me, and I know the vitriol which calls those words from me isn't natural — or at least, I don't want to make it a permanent part of me. So I have avoided blogging about it, and for the most part, I've stopped baiting Lance Armstrong on Twitter.

Cancer burnt Gavin and me, but lying about it and pretending he wasn't mortal were what broke our marriage apart as I prepared to lose him, alone, while he dreamed of miracles.


Musical Monday: Man in the Mirror

Once again, today, I sat before a mental health professional as they marvelled at the fact that I was alive. I felt, again, like the subject in the Natalie Merchant song, Wonder (a song I've found puzzling enough to never own though it would be so glorious to fit into it...).

Maybe there was less gawking than just pure appreciation. The disbelief part comes from within me, because I can hardly remember how bad I've had it, how crazy my world has been, especially for the year plus after Gavin died. Things seem so easy now -- they're not -- but I don't take credit for making my way through the muck and bricks and hurt of that time. I think so often of the caregiving, I ponder who I was at various points, what did I know? What was he thinking? Death and life and the big stuff. I turn these images over and over like minerals shifting color with the light.

And also, I have this concentric circles idea, that hurt and healing have led me back to finding a truer self and a path that has been nearly forgotten. That the farther I get from loss, the larger my life looks, the wider a perspective I can take, and the more I can heal from other damages, earlier and really really old. Somehow at this long view reminds me I'm not so old, really.

I'm still changing, and maybe even faster now, and it's still a load of work. So I heard Man in the Mirror on the radio today with fresh ears, irritated by today's burst of sunlight. Spring is playing with us, but our bodies must respond. I am stimulated and remembering how dark it was, how strong I must be, and contemplating as I usually am, the "what's next."

Man in the Mirror! Of all the superficial crap. I remember how that song sounded when it came out: like a distraction. It seemed to wiseass me that America had asked, "Mr. Jackson, have you had extensive plastic surgery to make you look like Diana Ross?" and received the answer: "HEY LOOK AT AFRICA." The song was not a pinnacle of honest self-assessment, and coming after the joys of Thriller and (especially -- my bliss!) Off The Wall... the whole album, Bad, just looked like a post-Michael-Jackson album.

Then again, who's a harsher critic than a student at a liberal-arts college?

Maybe I can have some empathy for what poor Michael went through to get there. Maybe I can listen to what he's saying. Maybe he has a good point.

Maybe I can look in the mirror, take credit for where I've been, and just... start.


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