THE YEAR AFTER
Katy E. Martin
Independently Published (2018)
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (2/2020)
“The Year After” by Katy E. Martin is the heartfelt story of a woman who lost one of the most precious and important things that a mother could lose – her child. Katy begins her recount when she is already eight and a half months pregnant. Being pregnant and a full-time teacher means that she gets distracted sometimes and doesn’t always keep track of movement from her son, Beau. Her worst fears come true by hearing some of the most horrifying words: “I can’t find a heartbeat.” Katy and her husband, Brodie, must now navigate through unchartered territory in their lives, and learn to relearn themselves and what they hold most important. Throughout the next year, Katy and Brodie cope through some tough life events, holidays, and conversations. Even though their son Beau is departed from this earthly life, he is still able to keep his mother on her toes and teach her many life lessons about how strong she really is mentally, physically, and spiritually.
The words that Katy offers to the bereaving parents are comforting, and overall life-saving. Having gone through an early miscarriage myself, I can relate to the pain of losing your child, albeit maybe not to the extreme of losing a child as far along as Katy and many others. The guilt you place upon yourself is real and hard to overcome. Even if you have never suffered the loss of a child, “The Year After” is still worth the read to be able to have a better understanding of what a bereaving parent is going through.
The topic of child loss can be seen as taboo and not always spoken about among many, especially when they can’t relate. The beauty of Katy’s work here is that she has put her emotions into words that are easy to sympathize with, even if we can’t empathize. Katy provides quotes, resources, and overall ideas on how to repurpose items that bring about strong emotions of your lost ones (i.e. Christmas stockings). As her readers, we can only hope to be as strong as Katy and Brodie if we were to experience such a loss, and the additional stories by fellow women included at the end of the book shows that there are many more women than we know about that have suffered a loss.
What we need to remember is that we shouldn’t treat them like their world is completely gone, because while it may feel that way to begin with, these women are strong and have found ways to cope and get through the tough days.
While the text is short, the content can be used among many women. Also, the artwork on the cover and throughout the book is very appropriate to include watercolor, as water is known to spread and get messy, much like our lives every day. “The Year After” by Katy E. Martin is highly recommended reading.