Book Review 2: The Dead Moms Club by Kate Spencer
I guess you shouldn’t have thought you were going to read a list of book reviews from me for [part of] this year without at least one that touches on the topic of grief. I was gifted “The Dead Moms Club” by a wonderfully benevolent neighbor who was told that it was a good book for those who have lost their moms right after she passed in April. I didn’t get around to starting it until June, and then I didn’t finish until December 16th, so I’m counting it for this coming year’s list just to be nice to myself.
Kate Spencer’s memoir on loss (her mom died when she was 27 of pancreatic cancer and the family spent nearly a year with her in hospice prior) made me cry and laugh at the same time. The chapters are divvied up by challenges that you’ll have to tackle along the grief wave. She’s ten years out and says that it’s still hard for her to have lost her mom and that she feels angry every single day that she doesn’t have a mom. I do worry that could be my own predicament, but feel hopeful that with the amount of therapy I’ve been in (not just as of late, but in my whole life) that I will feel slightly less gripped by my emotions.
I found myself clinging to Chapter 7: The Holidays, especially since, well, we’re in holiday season right now. Luckily, she got to take a trip to a Caribbean island with her family during Christmas to avoid being in the same home they had grown up in. We didn’t have that chance, and I’m glad we spent Christmas the way we normally do. It was hard but worth doing one last time. Chapter 6: Family was also eye opening to me…she writes about how she tried to chastise her brother for not seeming “emotional enough” about her mother’s death only to have him bring her back to reality and make sure that she understood that he was grieving, just differently from her. This is a strong message, and one that I was glad to get as I’ve been trying to keep up with my brother’s grief myself. Chapter 5: The Weight of It All was about how to process and approach grief. She ended up ripping off the bandaid and just telling people at work that her mom had, in fact, died. Chapter 10: Motherless was about how she realized there were so many things she couldn’t do without her mom. I feel this way, too. There’s even a section when she realized in her Manhattan apartment that she can’t cook rice. (For the record, I can’t, either). It is mostly about how so many things she assumed her mom would always be able to help her do were things that were so basic, even learning how to do them was hurtful because it made her remember her mom. I feel that way every day, as I clumsily try to teach myself to be as good a cook as she was (read: never will be), and to get stains out of clothing only the way she could.
I would definitely recommend this book. I would give it a 7/10.