the graveyard book and this day last year…

A year ago today, my dad died. Thankfully, my mom restarted his heart and the ambulance was quick to the scene. Doctors, nurses, specialists, they all managed to stabilize my dad, and then we all began the wait to see if he would pull through. There were hours spent sitting, trying not to feel to much or let it all sink in. There were nights spent not sleeping for fear we would miss his last moments with us. It was terrifying and enlightening and one of the most real moments of my life.

Today, my dad is alive and well. His new diet restrictions have given him a love for cooking and feeding his family. He spends more time at the gym than people half his age. He is the absolute picture of health.

A few days ago I started a book called The Graveyard Book (by Neil Gaiman), today I finished it.

It’s weird reading a book full of the dead on a day that you are focusing on a death not happening, however, the last pages of the book fit perfectly with my feelings about today. It’s the best way to look at life and death and everything from the beginning to the end. I refuse to spoil any piece of it for anyone that wishes to read the book (and I think you all should) so I won’t say anymore, but on this day that I’m glad to know my dad is alive and I can call him or see him or watch sports with him or laugh with him, I’m also glad that I read a book about a graveyard full of ghosts.

If you’re looking for more of a review on the book and less of my feelings about the day, I suppose I can say a few things. Every now and then I read a story that I’m actually sad to finish. That happened today. It was so very good and, for a book written for children, it evoked more emotion than I was expecting. So many books written for kids these days do not take care to develop deep and confusing characters. There are okay stories out there for children, don’t get me wrong, but I was happy to see that this one in particular treated its reader intelligently. I’m sure that there are those that would say, “Of course it did! It’s Neil Gaiman!” But as this was the first Gaiman book I’ve read, and therefore I had only opinions of others to go on before this, I stand by that statement. I was surprised, shocked, and ridiculously pleased. Halfway through I remarked to a friend that it was like reading my favorite children’s story, The Princess and the Goblin. This is, if you know me at all, the highest compliment I can pay. It was smart and something I would read again. There were lines that I felt like underlining and passages that made me feel. The characters felt like friends by the end, and as I devoured the last sentence on the last page, I was sorely sorry to be done.

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