Joy Enough: A Memoir

I suppose we’re meant to think of Sarah McColl’s two losses as a diptych—her mother dies, her husband leaves—but the abandonment by spouse was more embarrassing, like we needed to forgive her the sin of getting hitched in the first place. It contains occasional sparks that touch on the real grief, the forever grief of losing a mother, such as that moment when she’s replacing a light bulb in her kitchen and thinking “I could get my sea legs on the ocean of aloneness. As a divorced person it was not terrible. As a daughter, it was.”

Perhaps the diptych serves to counterbalance; love of a spectacular mother weighted against the betrayal of a husband who preferred writing code on his laptop. It also gives us an area where she can rebound by dating, by filling her life with replacements in way that is not possible with the other loss.