“We really had no idea what that poor girl went through, did we Dan?”
“No Mom, we didn’t.”
And so began a conversation between my mother and I about my cousin Lorene Holizki’s memoir Forever Kalei’s Mom: A Story about Life, My Child’s Death and What Forever Really Means.
Lorene’s book tells the story of the tragic loss of her beautiful 16-year-old daughter Kalei in a horrific car crash. With heart wrenching honesty Lorene tells her story of profound loss and unfathomable grief. Lorene’s memoir will serve as a survival guide for the bereaved. A literary “jaws of life” for those left behind, crushed under the relentless burden of their grief.
Mom was right. We didn’t know what Lorene went through when Kalei died. Even after reading Forever Kalei’s Mom we still don’t really know. Until I experience the tragic, sudden death of one of my boys – I will never know.
I am convinced, however, that reading my cousin’s book has made me a better person.
I know this to be true because I did not judge Lorene when she laid herself down in front of Kalei’s marker and silently folded her hands on her chest. Surrounded by the comforting silence of the cemetery I witnessed a beautiful, spontaneous expression of a mother’s undying love for her daughter.
I finally got a chance to see what Forever looks like.
Silver gelatin print
Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 lens
Ilford HP5, ISO 400