Book Review: Dusk and Summer by Joseph A. Pinto
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
It’s not an easy thing – to let go. We think it is. We tell ourselves that it is. We lie to ourselves because we’re comfortable, content, and if change were to come, then we would accept it in small doses. This way, we would believe that we are letting go of what was to accept what will be, but we are not in control. And change does not always arrive quietly for it is unpredictable, a tempest brewing that will pull the world, our lives from our hands, and then we will become lost.
I remember sitting in a hospital waiting room down in the city with my family. The room was dim, and there were other families there. They looked as lost as we felt, and nobody hardly spoke a word. My grandfather, may he rest in peace, cracked a few jokes, maybe inappropriate jokes, but it was his attempt to cut through the growing tension. He didn’t know what to do. Neither did any of us. We were just waiting on the nurse to come and tell us that it was okay to see my grandmother, may she also rest in peace. She was dying of Neuroendocrine Cancer, and finally the nurse came. I think I was the last to enter the hospital room. I didn’t recognize the woman lying in the bed. She was so small and pale. She reached out to me, and I hesitated, froze. I didn’t want to go near her, but I finally did. And I’ve never spoken about that to anyone until now, but I realize as I write this that it’s my story to carry, maybe one that would find its way into a fictional story, and maybe one that would share another’s struggle of holding onto their loved ones, only to watch them suffer and slip away. And it’s not easy letting them go.
We need to hold onto something. We need to plant our feet firmly into the sand and allow the past to roll over us like a calming sea, washing away the ugly truth. We need to chase something, anything, even if it’s just a bunch of ghosts, but it would silence the piercing howl that begs to be released. We need to disappear, melt into sweet oblivion and forget, but it’s not so easy to forget especially with that lingering touch of death against our skin, a cool shiver to remind us that we can’t simply close our eyes and dream all of this away. No matter how hard we grasp at what was or drop to our knees and scream out our fury or pain, it won’t change anything for everything has changed. All we can do is remember who they are, our heroes, our angels, and we need to hold tight to that, the memories and love that we shared. And even if we let go, this isn’t good-bye for good-byes do not exist. It’s only, “See you laters,” and maybe we will see them again. But until then, we carry their torch, lightening the way for others with their own stories to tell like Joseph A. Pinto’s “Dusk and Summer,” who will be donating a portion of the proceeds from his book to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.