Johnnene Maddison’s book, Losing Dave, An Artist’s Journey Through Loss, is a moving, creative, personal work.  At first glance, the reader might even think that they have stumbled upon an artist’s sketchbook.  In appearance, format and treatment, Maddison has cleverly offered a creative statement that resembles a sketchbook and journal, though unlike a real sketchbook, there are no blank pages.  Instead, the book is filled with her emotional reactions, detailed in both word and imagery, to her husband’s slow, seven-year ordeal with cancer, ultimately leading to his death.

Her book deals with her emotional turmoil as she bravely sees her husband through his suffering. It might not seem to be a good thing to read for someone who has experienced loss, but if I have learned one thing in life about coping with loss, it is that sharing grief helps to lessen its burden. Be sure to read Maddison’s apt and poignant epilogue after her “List of Works.” It is too lengthy to quote here in full, but it begins, “Trust me. It does get better. The memories don’t fade but the pain does.”  She then goes on to describe how she grew out of her grief and regained a happy, even joyful life by dealing with the process creatively.

While one might balk or even recoil at the prejudicial thought of enjoying a book about the loss of a loved one, her story is one that is shared by everyone because everyone experiences loss at one time or another. Maddison’s book expresses her intense grief and her artistic reactions to that grief. Finally, her story of loss is resolved, giving hope for those who are suffering loss and for those who struggle to see any end to their pain and grief.

I did cry while reading this book, but perhaps more importantly, upon reading the epilogue, I smiled. Her pain and grief are resolved. She offers hope to those who may feel hopeless. It is a book worth reading, worth sharing with a friend who may need it.

Losing Dave, An Artist’s Journey Through Loss, is available by emailing Johnnene Maddison at (copy and paste her address into your outgoing email, To:)  (I put in a hotlink, but all it did was to invite you to sign-up for hotmail.)

$20.00 plus shipping from London,  Ontario.