Tuesday 20 February 2024

I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This by Clare Mackintosh #18AssurancesOnGrief @claremackint0sh @BooksSphere @bookish_becky @laurasherlock21 #BookReview


Grief is universal, but it's also as unique to each of us as the person we've lost. It can be overwhelming, exhausting, lonely, unreasonable, there when we least expect it and seemingly never-ending. Wherever you are with your grief and whoever you're grieving for, I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This is here to support you. To tell you, until you believe it, that things will get easier.

When bestselling writer Clare Mackintosh lost her five-week-old son, she searched for help in books. All of them wanted to tell her what she should be feeling and when she should be feeling it, but the truth - as she soon found out - is that there are no neat, labelled stages for grief, or crash grief-diets to relieve us of our pain. What we need when we're grieving is time and understanding. With 18 short assurances that are full of compassion - drawn from Clare's experiences of losing her son and her father - I Promise it Won't Always Hurt Like This is the book she needed then.

I Promise It Won't Always Hurt Like This by Clare Mackintosh is published on 7 March 2024 by Sphere. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I have been reading Clare Mackintosh's novels for years now, I've met her many times. She's a lovely women who always comes across as cheerful, welcoming and supportive. What many of us will not have realised is that Clare is also a woman who has lost a child. Her son died in 2006, one of a twin, Alex did not have a long time on this earth. His death shattered Clare and her husband, her grief was overwhelming. Her feeling of sorrow and sadness cast a shadow over everything. In this compassionate and reassuring book, she reaches out to others who are grieving and promises that it won't always hurt like this. 

The book is split into eighteen assurances on grief, and as the author explains, some of these will not be relevant to everyone, but I am certain that some of these will be relevant to all of us. 

I feel that this review is more about me, and how I felt when reading this book, and I think that is Clare's intention. Whilst she is utterly frank and honest about her own experience, she creates a safe space for the reader, constantly telling them that it's OK to feel the way that you do. She is also open about the things that did not work for her, for the times when she was angry, and jealous and couldn't bear to see other people's happiness. She makes those feelings feel normal, she understands that human beings are all different, we all react in different ways to things, and even though sometimes we may not like our own behaviour, it is OK. 

Over the past few years I have lost two of the most important people in my life. One of my oldest friends, Rachel, died, aged 46 from a rare and aggressive cancer. She had a small child.  A few years later my Mum died, she was eighty-one and also died of cancer. I dealt with these deaths in completely different ways. I was so angry when Rachel died, angry that this woman who had never smoked, who didn't drink alcohol, and just loved being a mum so much had gone. I was angry that she couldn't be cured. I was angry that I no longer had someone to meet every week for a coffee and a huge slice of cake. I was so angry. I cried buckets, I cried for Rachel, for her little boy and for myself. 

When Mum died, it was like a hole had been drilled into my heart. It felt like a piece of me had gone with her. Our family dynamics changed. Mum was a tiny, feisty woman and I am very like her, I was part of her. I wasn't angry though. I didn't have the same burning anger that I had when Rachel died. I felt a touch of relief, which in turn made me feel so guilty. I was relieved that my elderly Dad no longer had to spend every hour of every day and night caring for the woman who had been his soulmate. I was relieved that we no longer had to watch her fade away day by day. I realise that relief was about me, and my Dad, and I still get feelings of guilt about it. 

What Clare does in this extraordinary book is allow us to look at our feelings, about our reactions and realise that there is no right way to grieve. I saw that I have grieved in different ways for different people and I'm no longer going to ask myself why I cried more when Rachel died than I did when my Mum died. I'm just going to accept that it is me, my way and it's the right way for me. 

I cannot begin to imagine who painful it was for Clare to write this book. The constant memory bombardment must have been hellish at times, and I hope that writing this has helped her as much as reading it has helped me. 

It is compassionate and understanding. It is non-judgemental and insightful. It is a book that I would urge everyone to read, wherever you are in your grief stage.

Clare Mackintosh is a police officer turned crime writer, and the multi-award-winning
author of seven Sunday Times bestselling novels. 

Translated into forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide and have spent a combined total of sixty-eight weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. 

Clare lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

For more information visit Clare's website www.claremackintosh.com or find her at www.facebook.com/ClareMackWrites or on Twitter @ClareMackint0sh

No comments:

Post a Comment