Room for Two
Trade Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort (August 2007)
Amazon.com Sales Rank: #208,955 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)
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I don’t know quite how to recommend a book that deals with the issues surrounding suicide. But I do recommend Room for Two by Abel Keogh, a book based on the true life experiences of Keogh as he works through the suicide of his young wife, Krista, and the death of the child she carried. He takes us on his journey from the shot he hears as he walks into his apartment to the light he finds at the end of the tunnel.
Although Mr. Keogh lets us know of his love for his wife and his pain at her death, he does not draw us through all the anguish he must have felt during that difficult time. A more deeply compassionate picture of what he went through might have made this book unbearable for the reader to endure.
Room for Two is a gentle look at a harsh subject. It reads more like a poignant romance novel than a tragedy as Keogh reaches out for the company of others in his loneliness. He encounters the usual uncomfortable situations as he seeks for women to just spend time with and finds that being a widower brings its own unique challenges to the dating world.
He didn’t often mention to his dates that his wife was dead or what the circumstances were behind the death. But after a rocky start with one of the women, Julianna, he sat down and had a heart to heart talk and broke the news that Krista had taken her own life.
“Juliana’s lips were pursed as if in deep thought.”Sentiments most of us have probably never think about in our own normal worlds.
‘I don’t know if I can do it,” she finally said.’
‘Date a widower.’
‘Why? You have to ask why?’
‘Tell me why it would be hard,’ I said. I could foresee a lot of potential problems but wanted to know if Julianna’s concerns were the same as the ones I saw.
‘I don’t know if I can live with having my every action compared to those of a dead woman,’ she said. ‘I don’t want to compete with a ghost.’
‘Have you felt like I’ve been comparing you to Krista?’
‘I don’t know you or Krista well enough to answer that question,’ Julianna said. ‘But I know when someone dies, they tend to be put on a pedestal. It doesn’t matter what they did wrong. All anyone can remember is the good, loving things about them. Meanwhile I’d be with you making mistakes and being compared to a woman who is a saint in some people’s minds.’
I had the privilege of listening to Abel Keogh at a recent writer’s conference I attended. Abel was talking about how to start a blog and why it was a good idea. He shared his own experiences.
Five months after his wife’s death, Abel felt a need to write his thoughts down and so started an anonymous blog, not really for the general public, just mostly for himself. That original blog is still available on his website www.abelkeogh.com Here is an excerpt.
“I don’t know where to begin. Maybe writing all this stuff down will do me some good. Maybe I’ll just give it up after an entry or two. Anyway, it a nice break from my daily routine at work.As he wrote more entries in his blog, Able was somewhat surprised to find that people were logging on and sharing their own feelings and experiences. They were comforted to know that someone was out there who shared some of their same experiences. He included the words “dating a widower” in his subject line. The longer he wrote, the more hits he got and he realized that there was a real need for a forum where people could openly talk about their experiences. He gave up on the anonymity and soon people were typing in his name to find his blog. He used his own name spelled correctly and misspelled .....the same way I was misspelling it until I read this...in his subject line. Abel’s 2002 blogs hold a timeless messages for those going through their own trials today. The appeal is universal as well. In May of 2008, his blog had over 2000 hits from different people in 56 different countries.
“I’m not writing anything on this site for your sympathy or compassion. I’m just writing down how I feel, hoping that somehow I can straighten out me feelings of loss, anger, and grief. Hoping that somehow I can come to terms with the lost of my best friend: my wife of five years. Like others on Diaryland, I placed a guestbook on this site so that you can leave your thoughts. All I ask is that you don’t smother me with sympathetic nonsense. Like I said, I’m not looking for anyone’s compassion or trying to pull anyone’s heartstrings. The most common thing I heard after my wife’s death is “I don’t know what to say.” Well, there is nothing you can say. You can’t tell me anything which will bring her back or make anything better. I just have do deal with what I am going through one day at a time, hour by hour, minute by minute. I have friends whose shoulders I cry on. I’m not looking to cry on yours.” (End of quote)
Eventually, Able wrote a book about his experiences and in 2007, Room for Two was published by Cedar Fort Publishing. The first chapter is available online by going to www.abelkeogh.com . Get up your courage and read it. You'll be glad you did.