The Mourning Report
by Caitlin Garvey
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Pub Date 06 Oct 2020 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2020
Caitlin Garvey, Homebound Publications
Two years after her mother’s death from breast cancer, Caitlin, then 20 years old, was admitted to a psychiatric facility after a suicide attempt. In the wake of this enormous loss, Caitlin questions her religion, comes to terms with her sexuality, and searches for a way to live with severe depression and anxiety. Filled with imagery, vulnerability and depth, The Mourning Report honestly and gracefully unpacks a trifecta of trauma.
Years later, unable to come to terms with her mother’s death, Caitlin decides to embark on a “grief journey,” interviewing the people involved in her mother’s dying process: a hospice nurse, a priest, an estate planner, a hairstylist, and a funeral director. If she figures out how they can function after being so close to her mother’s death, then maybe she can learn how to navigate her own life. Each chapter of The Mourning Report is centered on each interview and the memories, anxieties, and reflections that is stimulated. It asks what it means to "move on."
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 27 members
This was not the kind of read that I can sit here and say I thoroughly enjoyed. It was really hard-hitting and heartbreaking to read. Memoir’s always hit a little differently though. To read this book and feel so connected to the sadness and loss that the author has experienced for so many years was a lot to take in. Admittedly, I didn’t read this in one sitting and had to take a few breaks to gather myself. The book was full of feeling and spoke honestly about depression, suicide and the impact of grief.
I thought the way the story was written was really refreshing and interesting to follow. Her life events was explored in a way that watched Garvey jump through time, exploring memories of when she was younger - before her mother got sick - the period of time afterwards and how everything has affected her today. I also loved the authors approach on interviewing people who knew her mother. It added a lot of perspective to the book and it also expressed her need to find closure in the people who surrounded her whilst she was sick. There is no way a funeral director can encompass so much death and it not have a huge impact on him. But nobody thinks how death might affect those who endure it everyday. With this, it felt comforting to feel the authors repose as she heard stories of her mother and engaged with people who could give her what she was missing…time with the parent she lost.
Garvey’s emotional trauma was so honestly portrayed, the way she felt at different points of her life were never downplayed or dismissed to make it easier for the reader. It was all about the feelings she never really spoke about through fear of burdening others. I enjoyed the pace of this book. It is only 168 pages but the writing and engagement throughout the story made the book flow. I felt the length of the book was perfect, Garvey included everything we needed to hear in such few pages and it never felt like anything was missing.
A beautifully sad memoir by a very strong individual. The book is bravely outspoken and a short but impactful read.
This was a beautiful memoir discussing grief, pain, love, and healing. While brief, Caitlin took us on her own personal journey through grief and loss in a beautiful way. We see how the loss affected the author throughout her own life and coming to terms with her own mental health, pain, and mortality. The timeline jumped around slightly but was indicative of how grief does not have a specific timeline. Advanced copy was provided by Net Galley, Caitlin Garvey, and Homebound Publishing.
This book jumps around in time in its telling of the story. Not necessarily a bad thing, just the choice of the writer, Caitlin Garvey, who shares her extremely painful journey watching her mother pass away from cancer. It details her rough time putting her life back together and moving on after the loss; which some may relate to if they’ve lost someone that close to them. For a young woman like her, there could be no one closer, just as it is for most.
I found the book easy to become involved in and feel a part of. I read it in one go, other than being interrupted by a puppy’s mischief a time or three. I needed the breaks, as I’m the emotional type that tends to go through a lot of tissues reading books like this. I found it really moving and heartfelt. I would suggest it for anyone interested in grief, or memoirs, Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, the author Caitlin Garvey, and publisher Homebound Publications for my unbiased review.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is an emotional book as it deals with death, cancer, suicide attempt, and mental illness. I like how the author tries to make sense of her grief by interviewing several people who knew her mother or deal with death and dying for a living.
Garvey grapples with the emotional wreckage of her mother's death when she was 18. She chronicles her mother's battles with cancers and her demise. She interviews people who assisted with her mother's last days from the priest to the hospice service. Garvey was trying to find solace from the past in order to face the future. It was a thoughtful, compelling memoir about how devastating death is.
“I grieve for her, and I grieve for the mother I didn’t get to know. I grieve over the gaps. I grieve for order, and I grieve for comfort.”
This book is a compelling account of the author’s journey on her attempts to come to terms with the grief of losing her mother and resonate with one of life’s greatest tragedy, death.
While walking readers down her memory lane, the author was open and honest, her state of mine was revealing, the sentiments stirred were achingly provoking and difficult to ignore.
Today, as I write this review, it is my late brother’s one year anniversary. It took me a long time to finish the book, because it is relatable. For those of us who are left behind, we do grieve, for them, we grieve for the person we did not get to know, we grieve over the gaps, we grieve for order, we grieve for comfort, we grieve for what ifs and we grieve for the people they left behind.
I just reviewed The Mourning Report by Caitlin Garvey. #NetGalley
If my heartstrings played a song while I read this book, it would be Cryin’ by Joe Satriani. That song reaches in and tugs at my emotional core, as did this book.
Caitlin Garvey writes with raw honesty and vulnerability about her experience with loss, faith, sexuality, and mental health. Her story is personal but also relatable.
Perhaps it’s strange to say I loved a book that deep-dives into death. I did, though. I read this book in one afternoon because I didn’t want to put it down.
I could toss words at you, like poignant, captivating, and thought-provoking. I could list all the ways in which this book is so much more than I expected. But, ultimately, I think the reading experience will be a little different for everyone who reads it, just as loss and love are different for each of us. Maybe this book is like a hand stretched out in the ether, offering a human connection, if we’re willing.
******** TRIGGER WARNING ********
This book contains talk of depression, grief, a suicide attempt and suicidal ideation. If any of these topics are triggers for you, I suggest you either skip this book, or proceed with caution.
"I'm scared to live, and I envy those who aren't..."
Caitlin Garvey lost her mother to Breast Cancer when Caitlin was only twenty years old. Unable to find her way through her grief, she attempted suicide and ended up in a locked psychiatric facility.
Caitlin was depressed and her anxiety levels were off the chart. Her time in the hospital was helpful, but even after she was released, she was still suicidal.
"[She] began this book out of desperation to feel unbound, to feel a comfort that could allow [her] to move forward in [her] life. [She] wanted to revisit [her] memories of the few days before and after [her] Momma died, the moments when [Caitlin] felt the smallest and the most detached from the world. [She] hoped that [she] could pick up the pieces of [herself] that [she] left behind. [Caitlin] hoped to feel whole, not fragmented, and that [she] could remember more of [her] Momma and get a fuller version of her story."
"[Caitlin] interviewed five people, all of whom were a part of [her] Momma's dying process:"
Those five people were:
Her mother's hairstylist who was also her close friend. In fact, it was this woman who styled her mother's hair for the wake.
The family priest
A nurse/administrator at Heartland Hospice Care
The author's parent's estate planner AND
An embalmer/funeral director
"[She] thought that if [she] could figure out how these five people functioned after being so close to death, [she] could better navigate [her] own life. [She] hoped they could give [her] some guidance."
Each chapter focuses on the interviews between Caitlin and the person she was interviewing. Each time, she discovered more not only about her mother, but about herself as well. Personally, I found these conversations fascinating and insightful.
THE MOURNING REPORT is probably the most raw and honest grief/depression memoir I have ever read. Caitlin does not shy away from the truth and admits that "[She was] mad at myself for wanting to die when all [her] Momma wanted to do was live."
Caitlin's honesty and integrity left me with a feeling of having peeked inside her psyche and having gone along on her journey of healing.
There is just no rating other than 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ that would be truthful. In fact, I plan to go back and read THE MOURNING REPORT again in a few weeks.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever lost someone close to them. As well, anyone who has an interest in mental health, depression and suicide prevention should be sure to read The Mourning Report.
Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this #memoir
This book was an emotional journey through interviews with people who could provide insight into the life and death of the author’s mother. In an attempt to make peace with her mom’s death years later, Garvey sets up with interviews with people who were connected to her mother in some way, or connected to death. This book is an emotional and eye opening read and I would definitely recommend it.
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
i really felt for Ms. Garvey, it was a beautiful read and I enjoyed reading this. It was really beautifully well done and I look forward to more from the author.
I thought this was an incredibly sad book, very moving at times but heart-breaking. Its clear Caitlin’s never got over her mother’s death and her grief, many years later still shapes her life. Grief affects people in different ways. Not everyone will respond the same way or take the same amount of time to move on. My Gran died almost twenty years ago and my Mum still grieves her though it has gotten easier over time. I don’t think about Gran very often. I cried a lot reading The Mourning Report because the author had allowed me the privilege of sharing her grief and mourning process. I wanted to hug her. I found the people she decided to interview an interesting choice as they were not always the most obvious person I expected her to want to speak to. The chapter where she speaks to the hospice nurse is quite upsetting as it becomes clear the patient they are discussing is not Caitlin’s mother but she chooses not to say anything. The interviews are interwoven with flashbacks of her mother’s illness and death and the life of the family before she became ill. There is a ray of hope though, at the end that Caitlin may have started to heal.
This book seriously made me cry so much. I never knew another person that loved her mom as much as I do, and when she lost her mother, I felt this pain, it’s like “what would I do if I lost my mom as that young age? Or at any age?”
Caitlin talks about her struggles dealing with the loss of her mother, getting to know her mother more, and trying to move on from her death. But she doesn’t want to seem to let go, and and she decided to interview the people who have seen her before she died, and this is some form of closure project.
Throughout this whole books we read these amazing flash backs that she has with her mother, and having her mother’s support and love, it was just a beautiful book to read, this is my second memoir this month and I’m so happy I reas a another great book. It’s sad because you feel her pain and even the stories of the people she interview, other than that it was a breeze to read, and it was so well written.
Thanks Netgalley and Publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book.