The Seventh of May by Pippa Franks

The last couple of days I’ve been reading a lovely story by Pippa Franks, The Seventh of May. It has been a “joy” and delight to read.

There are times in life when “bad things happen to good people”. Questions of why go unanswered. It seems as if no one could possibly understand. The feeling of intense loneliness and sadness are so overwhelming it seems as if we are on a solitary walk through a deeply dark valley of life. Yet there are those who do comprehend and empathize with one’s depths of despair, are able to freely offer insight and comfort easing the burden of grief. Pippa Frank does this (intentionally or not) in her book, The Seventh of May.

Jenna’s journey after the loss of both parents to a traffic accident offers an unexpectedly amusing tale of life beyond grief. Her story for me is “just what the doctor ordered”. In a way the experience of reading the story was like talking with a friend who understands all to well the deep, energy-draining sorrow and grief accompanied with an excruciating loss.

The story is about two people who have lost their way as death and grief overshadow any possibility of their experiencing the joy and gift that is life. Instead, each of them has hunkered down clinging closely to their grief and loss. Neither wants to move on as friends and family urge in part because to do so feels as if they are abandoning their loved one. They each believe it’s unfair to laugh or to love or to live because their loved one no longer can.

With the help of a fun-loving ghost determined to set things right, old and new friends offering support and wisdom both Jenna and Ben are offered a new lease on life. Just as in life, though, free will comes into play. They cannot be dragged kicking and screaming out of their morose lives but each must decide life is worth living and figure out how to redefine who they are and what their purpose in life should be.

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