Updated: Jan 27, 2019
It’s rare that a book has me in tears from page 15. In fact I can’t recall the last time I tried to read through a blur of tears with tissues in one hand and the book in the other. The book is titled Come Away With Me by Karma Brown. I downloaded it simply because of the title. I thought I may learn some new ways to convince more of my friends to travel with me. I was wrong, and I knew I was wrong the moment I read:
"How do you explain that if you could, you’d cut your chest open and pour the ashes right inside so they could forever lie next to your heart? Like a blanket to smother the chill of sorrow. You can’t, so you don’t…”
It had been sitting in my library for months, and I finally started it a couple weeks ago, but couldn’t get past page five – it just wouldn’t hold my interest. But then I forced myself to go on. If you pick this up, you should too.
The story starts out with a husband and wife driving in the icy, windy, snowy Chicago landscape. They are obviously in love, playful (and I mean… playful with a wink) but then the unthinkable happens – a car accident. From there, Ms. Brown takes us back and forth from the couple’s early relationship to what is happening “at this moment.”
“He lies down beside me, barely disturbing the covers, but doesn’t touch me. He knows me…”
This story was incredibly personal to me, as it will be for far too many women (and men) and I found it difficult to get through at times. Teagen, the woman who is speaking in the above quotes, is overwrought by grief, and her husband Gabe is at a loss as to how to help her while dealing with his own grief and guilt. What he does to save their marriage, to save Teagen, is to make her find their “Jar of Spontaneity” they created before they were married. In this jar are little pieces of folded paper that hold an adventure whether it be having sex at that very moment or traveling to Thailand. Through her anger and grief, Gabe convinces her to pull out three pieces of paper. She does, she reads them, and flattens them out with her hands against the comforter.
Not one moment of this story (emotional or literal) between Teagan and Gabe is lost or left to the imagination. Ms. Brown describes every instance with such precise detail that you will find yourself wrapped in her grief and perhaps in tears like I was, but you will also feel her joy, her anger at Gabe, her hesitation in laughter, and the spirit of adventure still inside of her as they travel and meet people from around the world.
This is a journey you should go on for yourself. If you’ve suffered the pain of loss in any form, if you’ve wanted to travel, if you’ve felt so numb you can’t tell if your body is even touching the sheets – read this book.
I found it incredibly inspiring despite the emotional upheaval it brought to me as I was reading. Ms. Brown is a poet and a beautiful story teller.
Let me know if you pick it up...