Grief comes in many forms. You can grieve over something you have lost. And you can also grieve over something you’ve never had.
“Saying Goodbye Forever” by H. Pearce follows Gemma’s path through her grief over losing her husband. Neither did her marriage resemble a fairy tale, nor was Jack a perfect husband. Still, it is not how relationships and human emotions work.
Gemma seems to be content having found balance in her new life without her husband. But her best friend Kirsty, a woman who believes that even in relationships the more is always the better, can’t leave her in peace. She keeps insisting that Gemma needs to get out of the shell she has exiled herself to. The day Gemma becomes tired of her friend’s insistence and agrees to do what she doesn’t want to do, she meets a man who turns her life upside-down.
“Saying Goodbye Forever” makes the reader search for answers to many difficult questions. Questions we often prefer not to ask ourselves to avoid pain and disappointment. I loved the way the author made Gemma feel like a real person, not a fictional character that follows the commonly accepted patterns. At forty-something, she doesn’t have ungrounded hopes, and the past fills a more significant part of her mind and soul than the future. She realises that there isn’t such a rule that everything will definitely change for the better, and she can’t stop dwelling on what she could have done differently to save her husband from doing what he did.
When she meets Lewis, Gemma has to struggle with the feeling of guilt that doesn’t let her move forward with her life. She also faces the incredulity that someone like Lewis, a talented surgeon with the heart of gold and younger than her, can have serious feelings for her.
Set against the backdrop of modern lifestyle, “Saying Goodbye Forever” by H. Pearce explores the demands nowadays society raises for women while successfully veiling it with equal rights slogans.