Walking Through Twilight by Douglas Groothuis
Douglas Groothuis’s memoir regarding his wife’s dementia is poignant one. Groothuis speaks from the heart concerning his wife’s decline. This is a book that deserves to stand alongside C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed.
Through this book Groothuis is fully honest with the full range of his reaction to his wife’s condition. He describes the eeriness of dementia and the chaos that comes with it. He speaks to the temptation to hate God that comes with such terrible suffering. The seventh chapter of the book which addresses lamenting and mourning should be required reading for every Christian. After quoting the command in Romans to mourn with those who mourn Groothuis states, “Mourning rightly is a rare skill and one that cannot be cultivated without the sacrifice of one’s ego on behalf of another soul and God. Any hospital chaplain worth having must develop this art of sympathy and empathy. But we are all chaplains in the hospice of life (p. 60).” Meaning that we all must learn to sacrifice our ego in order to cultivate the the sympathy and empathy that others will need from us. At the end Groothuis points to what keeps him going the love of a crucified Savior who still bears the scars.
This book reminds readers that even if one knows all the right answers regarding evil and suffering, as the author does, the pains of life are still very much real and felt. In our feel good age I think everyone would benefit from reading memoirs like this one. It’s a difficult read, as you are observing the heart ache of a man who’s wife is losing her ability to communicate and interact with the world. We need honest testimony like this in book form and in the church. Too often people find the church a terrible place when they are walking through twilight. Of all the books I have read this year this book has impacted me the most.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.