Sometimes there is nothing more enjoyable than sitting down and losing yourself in a good book. Through reading you can live many different lives, not just your own, and gain fresh perspectives. Sometimes you identify so strongly with the characters in the book you feel as if you have met them and talked with them for hours. A good book can be just like a sympathetic friend who helps you overcome your sadness and refreshes your spirit.
The book Me, Before You by Jojo Moyes is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. The main characters, Louisa and William, meet when Louisa, who is looking for a job, accepts one as a social worker for William, who has lost the use of his limbs after a bad accident. Louisa learns a great deal from William and eventually falls in love with him. William, however, is very depressed about his condition; and, one day, Louisa finds out that William intends to go to a special facility in Switzerland where he can have access to assisted suicide. Louisa tries to stop William but she cannot, so she decides to go with him to Switzerland to be with him on the last days of his life. After William’s death, Louisa discovers that William has left some property to her so she can go back to school and pursue her dreams. He asks her not to be upset but to stay determined and hopeful.
Five years ago, I experienced something similar to Louisa’s loss when my husband died of an incurable illness. It all happened so suddenly. When I first learned about his illness, I was shocked and did not know what to do. The doctors said that my husband had only three months to live. It is difficult to help someone else when you can barely help yourself. I understand how Louisa feels about wanting to do all she can to save her beloved’s life. And I know how she feels when she fails. My husband lived only one month after being diagnosed with his illness; and in spite of all of Louisa’s efforts, William died after a few months after his decision to go to Switzerland.
After my husband’s death, I felt depressed and confused. I could not accept his absence. I felt broken, lost and lonely. But even in the face of this terrible loss, I felt God was with me. I knew God would not let me down; He has been with my whole life. I believe that everything that happens in life happens for a reason, not by chance. I learned a lot from my husband: he taught me that love is the most precious gift there is in this world and he bestowed it upon me liberally. My husband thought I was brave, patient and confident and so I became these things. William did the same for Louisa.
Like Louisa, my husband left some money so that I have financial support. And in spite of his physical loss, he supports me spiritually. I believe that, unlike earthly love, spiritual love, which is a union of souls, is high above any romantic feelings between a man and a woman. This love is one that can be never broken. Physical separation cannot separate souls but can make them expand just as gold does when hammered into the gold leaf. I think that, like my love for my husband, the love between Louisa and William was pure, spiritual, and eternal.
Good books can have a lasting effect on you. They stay with you through your sorrow like a sympathetic friend. You feel the power of their words with all your heart. Me, Before You was one of these books for me. I was deeply affected by witnessing the pure love of Louisa and William, a love that is not of this world. I identified with their anguish because my own experience was so similar. Despite all the suffering I have endured, I have emerged from my grief like a butterfly from its cocoon. I have become another person, a new person. Although I have lost my husband, I have gained the precious gift of his enduring love along with confidence and of patience. It is these gifts that I will always treasure.