Here is the beginning of a chapter from Elaine Roberts Schaller’s new book, Dear Cindy, Love Mom:
A conversation we had in last night’s dream. “Mom, stop crying. I know you’re sad but there’s nothing you can do.”
“I’m in shock. I can’t believe this happened.”
“I don’t want you to be miserable, Mom.”
“I know you don’t, but I can’t help it.”
“Watching you like this is killing me.”
“Sweetheart, I’m really trying.”
“Try harder, Mom. You have to stop mourning me.”
“Cindy, I guess I’m not ready to accept your death. I think I don’t want to just yet.”
“I love you, Mom. I’m with you, but not on earth. There’s nothing we can do to change what happened. But, I am okay.”
If only this were real.
Schaller is not, by trade, a writer. She is a woman who lives in Florida and is friends with my mother in law. Three years ago, while training for an Ironman Triathlon, her daughter Cindy died of a brain aneurysm. She was 33.
Shortly thereafter I wrote a column about Cindy, a women I never met, for ESPN.com. It was fine and OK, but admittedly distant. Now, however, Schaller has released this book. And it is insanely, insanely, insanely powerful. When Cindy passed, a therapist advised Elaine to write letters to her daughter. So she did. And they are beautiful/heartbreaking/jarring/amazing. That’s what this book is—one letter after another, each as impactful as a brick to the head.
I’m not saying this out of some sort of loyalty—I only know the Schallers in passing. But this book is one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever read.
I highly recommend it.