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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
Knapsack Journey Home: October Will Never Be the Same by Kathleen Janz-Anderson pays tribute to Chad, a generous young man who gave more than was required of him. The memoir is told through Kathleen Janz-Anderson’s personal journal on her heart-breaking journey after her son’s death. On October 14, 2014, Chad passed on, leaving a gap that could never be filled. The traumatic news plunged his family into untold despair. Through the entries made in the journal, Kathleen Janz-Anderson reveals the excruciating pain she continues to experience since her son’s passing. Descriptions of Chad’s life are also included as well as the author’s advice with regard to the grieving process of a parent who has lost their child.
Using diary entries that span various years, the memoir provides a more intimate look into Kathleen Janz-Anderson’s painful experiences. The entries capture the raw emotions that arose after the death of Chad. They also show her feelings month after month, revealing the unbearable pain throughout the process. The work captures the loving relationship between a mother and a son and the difficulty in trying to let go. The many “what if” scenarios that plagued the author’s mind after her son’s death further serve as an eye-opener of the challenges in trying to accept the shock of losing someone close. The memoir is also a testament to Kathleen Janz-Anderson’s strength as she tries to live despite experiencing insurmountable loss. For anyone who has lost a family member, especially a child, Knapsack Journey Home: October Will Never Be the Same serves as a heart-warming reminder that they are not alone and someone understands the pain they are going through.