Part memoir, part psycho-social commentary, Elegy for my Mother takes an unflinching look at the experience of death and those left behind in its wake. When her mother unexpectedly dies, Jenny flies to Seattle to make arrangements for a funeral, amid a series of unimaginable events. Somewhere between the shock of the news to the reasons for her unexpected death, a funeral, packing up her mother’s house- she gradually comes to grip with not the prospect of a future without her.
An intimate accounting of the days and weeks of the first year following her mother’s death, Elegy is an accounting of the progression through grief into an entirely new life as the author returns home to find her own world in turmoil, echoing of the impact of the loss. Back in Los Angeles, the year following is filled with emergencies, housing issues and moving, angry neighbors, family blowups and work deadlines and the inevitability of her own changes. Woven into the narrative is a portrait of her mother’s own difficult life, inspiring a new course through her own, juxtaposed with a determination to survive in pursuit of relief and understanding.
“Jenny Leonhardt has written, in beautiful, descriptive, eloquent language, a eulogy not only to her mother but to all of us who are passing through and passing away. What changes in describing reality contact-fully and in the present, without politeness or withholding for the sake of self-protection– what changes then is the nature of love itself. We are inventing a new way to love. Or maybe a more adult way of loving each other honestly. The courage shown here is part of an even bigger growing up, right here on the edge of the affirmation of death itself. This is, some have said, the key to transcendence. And I am beginning to see and hear that coming from all quarters, including and especially this, Jenny’s wonderful book.”
Brad Blanton, Ph.D. author of Radical Honesty and other books
“Love, vulnerability and spiritual wisdom permeate this book: it is nourishment for the Soul. Jenny has a sensitive and deeply insightful way of writing that leaves one feeling that all our lives matter.”
Elizabeth Spring, MA author of Sweet Synchronicity: Finding Annie Besant, Discovering Krishnamurti and other books
“An artful, beautiful book by a gifted writer.”
Dianne Gray, president of the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation (author of On Death and Dying, On Grief and Grieving and other books)