Memoir Book Review
The Silence of Morning by Daisy A Hickman
Letting go as a phrase used in meditation encourages meditators to release thoughts and eventually beliefs and emotions, allowing a natural sense of being in the present moment to rise and fall with each breath.
Daisy A Hickman’s deeply poignant memoir traces her steps through a life outlined by cultural expectations to her present, ever present state of personal depth which means separation from expectation and acceptance of an ever present now.
That she followed these steps because of the death of her only son by his own hand makes this memoir all the more remarkable and poignant.
Hickman frames her memoir The Silence of Morning with time. Time as described by the cultural demands from grade school, time as a potential to describe hope for the future, time in every description, Hickman lays waste to the fantasy of time encouraged by our collective group belief. Time as a frozen construct, warbled to her by well-wishers eager to put distance (time) between her and them in stock phrases like, “time heals all,” that idea of time the author rejects.
Hickman rejects the homily but not the intent of compassion, just as she rejects the notion her son’s suicide is an act from which she can, or will “heal.”
Instead, she emerges out of that dream of time through the nightmare of her only son’s addiction and suicide. What is left?
Letting go as a meditation mantra mouthed by millions of beginners sounds like a remedy for all of life’s ills and pains. Instead, as Hickman describes it, truly letting go means dissolution of false securities, unreal mental constructs, and fantasy beliefs dominating most lives. Letting go means taking on the face of the present moment even though that requires sacrificing one’s cherished personality.
The freedom acquired is a freedom of maturity, not the instant and eternal happiness our infantile culture proscribes, but acceptance of the paradox of life lived with death. Hickman’s memoir rings with moments of such freedom. In the end her writing describes the Depth that rises to meet those who must let go.
It is a Depth of timeless grace, including sorrow and joy, embracing paradox. In the end Hickman succeeds in describing her own beginning and in it the ever-present spirit of her beloved son Matthew. The book is a meditation guide. Get it. Read it. Slowly.