I recently did this review for the NYC Dads Group.
"Different people take on different roles as you move through illness."
One of the situations anyone who has a spouse or partner fears most is the loss of said spouse or partner. This situation is exasperated when there are children involved. This is what unfortunately happened to Bruce Ham.
In his harrowing, yet inspirational book, Laughter, Tears, and Braids: A Father's Journey Through Losing His Wife to Cancer, Ham shares just how challenging losing one's spouse at a young age can be. It takes great courage to write about such a life altering event. For that reason alone, this book is a must read.
However, it is Ham's brutally honest and revealing storytelling inLaughter, Tears, and Braids that makes this book so memorable.
"I spent the majority of my life waiting for this moment. I was raised to expect that the worst possible thing would happen."
Ham takes on his journey. He rediscovers what it means to be a parent and a role model.
"On the day we inurned her mother, on what would have been her 40th birthday, my oldest daughter started her period. She was becoming a woman. And in a way, I guess, I was becoming a man."
Ham's writing shows how gifted he is at crafting stories. It is hard not to become invested in Ham and his daughters. He shares emails and journal entries that reveal just how daunting this experience was for he and his wife. From the wait to see if his wife could physically handle chemotherapy to a debate over a vasectomy, Ham takes us through each decision in a thoughtful and insightful manner. His openness is on full display throughout this book. He shares when he was scared, confused, and proud.
As depressing as the first two-thirds of the book is, the remaining third is truly inspirational. It is difficult not to be impressed with Ham's resolve, especially as a parent. I recommend reading Laughter, Tears, and Braids since it is reminder of how much life experiences continue our evolution as people.