cover image The Alchemy of Loss: A Young Widow's Transformation

The Alchemy of Loss: A Young Widow's Transformation

Abigail Carter, . . HCI, $24.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-7573-0790-4

Carter's husband, C. Arron Dack, was probably in Windows on the World, the restaurant atop the World Trade Center, when the planes hit on 9/11. Although she hoped he'd miraculously survived, when he didn't turn up the next day, her grieving began. Carter, who now lives in Seattle, Wash., bases her grieving process on a book by Kathleen Brehony called After the Darkest Hour : the first stage, “blackening,” which in alchemy strips down lead to its “original alloys,” corresponded to her initial phase of disorienting grief, when she hardly knew how to live day to day, much less how to comfort their two small children, ages two and six. Next, the “whitening” stage purified the metal; for Carter, some new routines took hold and she started feeling as though she might make it. The final stage, “reddening,” when the base metal turns to pure gold, corresponded to Carter's own “enlightenment.” She accepted that she wasn't very good at her former job anymore, and she accepted that she didn't want to live in the house or the town that she'd shared with her husband. Resilient in the end, Carter shares all her doubts and fears along the way, which other grieving widows may appreciate. (Sept.)