ALAN D. BUSCH: REFLECTIONS UPON THE MOST PAINFUL EXPERIENCE POSSIBLE.
"Snapshots of My Son: in memory of Ben" will bring tears to your eyes. Many readers will not be able to read the entire book in one sitting, and some may not finish it at all. Normally, I would reserve a so strong opening statement in a book review for a literary masterpiece which glitters with the same emotionally-affective qualities as a masterly painting that has survived countless centuries, or a Hollywood-style film whose success is measured by its ability to get the even the most hardened macho-type viewer to cry tears of happiness and sorrow.
This book is not a work of "fine literature", nor is it a work of art or a film. However, it contains a most special quality in that it often functions as a successful hybrid of all the aforementioned. It is an honest account of the most painful life experience possible: seeing your own child die before you do. Death is a difficult issue to write about, even for a dramatic novelist, a poet or a psychologist. Death is not only about endings, but also remembrances and the fear of letting go so that new beginnings may begin to take hold. We all know that we need to let go, but the need to cling to the memories from a now-missing part of ourselves which still lives on within us is an overwhelming and indescribable process. And that is precisely what Alan D. Busch has nearly done in a perfect way: to describe that process in a way almost everyone would be able to relate to - regardless of whether they lost their parent(s), wife, husband, lover, partner, child or best friend .. to natural death, an accident or to suicide. He describes both the pain, the difficulty of acceptance, the other-worldliness of the experience, the value and the pain of memories .. and the resolution of the unresolvable (i.e. acceptance of death as a part of Life to be embraced emotionally; and not merely in terms of over-simplified aphorisms).
"Snapshots of My Son: in memory of Ben" is an important book, which is both painful and healing to read .. and impossible for those who do read it to do so without recalling their own personal memories and processes in connection with the passing of loved ones.
Do buy this book. Read it when you are ready to become engaged in your own processes ranging from grief/sorrow/loss to healing. It may take you a while to get through it; and you will most probably read several individual passages over, again and again. It is not easy; it is about Life.
And yes, it would make a good film or television movie.
- review by Adam Donaldson Powell (2007)
ALAN D. BUSCH (USA) is an independent writer in Skokie, IL. He has published articles and poetry in Living With Loss, Bereavement Publications, the Chicago Jewish United Fund News Magazine, Passing, An Anthology of Poems by Poetworks.com and Aish.com. Alan is married to "Kallah" and is the father of three children: Benjamin, Z'L, Kimberly and Zac.