“I’ll Be Seeing You” by Loretta Nyhan & Suzanne Palmieri (Hayes)

I started reading this book a long time ago but it just wasn’t the time. I am glad I put it down for that choice (as many others, I am sure) has led me to now. I just finished reading I’ll Be Seeing You and I am at a loss for words.

Letters. This book is a compendium of letters. At first they are from, and to, Glory Whitehall and Rita Vincenzo. Through what we can only guess to have been thousands of sheets of paper, we are led into the private world of two women who, at first, seem to have only one thing in common: both their husbands are abroad, fighting for the Allies in the II World War. But there’s so much more than that!

That is what we do. That is what people do. They stay alive for each other.”

I believe that quote from The Hours by Michael Cunningham echoes this book’s aura perfectly. These two women find in each other another reason to stay alive. Together, through their written relationship, they learn not only to stay alive for one another, but to stay alive for themselves. And suddenly there are thousands of reasons, reasons that had been surrounding them for years but that they hadn’t be able to acknowledge. Sometimes it is indeed hard to see them, but that doesn’t mean they are not there. We need to want, and to be ready, to find what we are looking for. It’s beautiful how these two women open their hearts to each other and, at the same time, to themselves. That’s actually one of the things I love the most about writing… once it’s all down on paper, I believe it becomes easier to deal with it. It has a form, a shape. Once you have reduced something to words, even if you can’t erase them, you can always learn to forgive them.

A lesson on humanity, I would call it. Two different voices, that then become more than that as their families and friends join in, that belong to every single of one us, if only we decide to listen.

That said, this review is a simple grain of sand. This book is so much more than what is written here and in it… the between the lines is absolutely glorious and I wish I could put it into words, but I can’t.

It’s funny. Bombs drop from the sky every day, chaos and mayhem spread over the globe, but we’re more afraid of the mines buried deep in our hearts, the ones we hope to never give cause to explode.”

Shed a tear and then dive head on into the ocean. I’ll be seeing you.

P.S. I will never be able to look at a sunflower in the same way. There will always be Rita and Glory with me. And olives? I will have some in honor of Sal.


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