When journalist Jill Smolowe buried her husband, sister, mother, and mother-in-law in the space of seventeen months, she assumed that it was only a matter of time before she fell apart. That’s what all the movies and memoirs say will happen, after all. But when she never “lost it”—and when friends began to insist that her strength was amazing and unusual—she began to think there might be something freakish about her way of grieving, so she did what any self-respecting journalist would: she researched it.
In Four Funerals and a Wedding, Smolowe jostles preconceptions about caregiving, defies clichés about losing loved ones, and reveals a stunning bottom line: far from being uncommon, resilience like hers is the norm among the recently bereaved. With humor and quiet wisdom, and with a lens firmly trained on what helped her tolerate so much sorrow and rebound from so much loss in her own life, she offers answers to questions we all confront in the face of loss, and ultimately reminds us all that grief is not only about endings—it’s about new beginnings.