Written by S. Bowyer


Grief is the Worst Ninja


     It was the day Alexandra woke up, but Dorian didn't.

     Grief is the Worst Ninja is a reactionary piece by a pet owner who experienced one of the dreaded moments by every pet owner -- when they find their animal deceased. This book is a documentation of her thoughts, feelings, and actions after the initial scene, as well as her lifestyle with Dorian and what it meant to lose him.

     The book showed great contrast to other grief titles out there, not really showing much care for shoulds or trying to impart particular knowledge to the reader. Instead the author just lives in their moment, sharing their internal mechanisms and feelings. It would serve as a good normaliser for anyone who is suffering a current loss. Erin speaks of reactions people can feel guilt about, such as the move on type of actions, where pet furniture is moved or thrown out. Some people feel this is disrespectful to a death if done too fast, when in fact, it can be a way of adaption. Part of the grief process is to find a new way to home the person or animal, in a new form in our life. Erin speaks of how she begins to reform her life without Dorian, using his objects as reminders, not placeholders.

     "I had already made the decision that however much I rearranged my rooms, I would always have a space for him in them. However much my life changed, he would always have a place in it. That was why I'd put his scratching post by the window, where he'd so often stood and watched the world go by during the last eleven months of his life."

     "It (his scratching post) was never up by the window when he was alive, so I'll never look at it and for a moment expect him to run up and start using it. It stands in for him, reminds me of him, but in as safe a way as possible. It tells me that there is a place for him in my home, a space for him in my life, without misleading my heart about the nature of that space," she wrote.

     At first the book seems very off-beat, and the rhythm seemed somewhat unusual, but as the story and environment develops, I found the focus, commitment and sincerity of the author polished it into a very smooth read. I wonder if maybe the writing felt off-beat because the author felt that in their turmoil, and the expression rounds off as the author adapts to their loss. In essence, that's what makes the writing enveloping because the reader can experience the writer's turbulence. At the same time, the writing was not played out too dramatic, or over-done. It didn't feel like the writer was trying to show misery, impress the writer, or in any way write for anyone else -- she was just purging her truest self. Personally, that's when the magic happens: when someone is sharing exactly them.

     "I can look right and see his window to the world, the portal through which he watched the world go by," Erin writes, which in essence, could also be how I would sum up this book. The book is a portal to the real Alexandra Erin and her experience of losing Dorian.

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