The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope tells the tale of Evelyn starting from her Great Depression and World War II childhood and continuing to her declining years of life at the end of the 20th century. Along the way, she negotiates the challenges that many of us face in life. As a farmer in rural North Carolina, Evelyn experiences quite a bit of independence for a woman. It is on her farm, inherited from her beloved aunt, that she begins encountering her lovers, both male and female. One of the lovers, Adam, becomes her husband and the main focus of the story. Together, they find a deep love that many of us strive to find in our lives, filled with intimacy and passion. They have a large brood of children together, and the tale continues to walk their lives’ journey as parents.
During the course of the story, Evelyn and Adam must cope with the deaths of both a child and a parent. Riley’s descriptions of their grief pulled me back to the days and months after the loss of my daughter. Her words capture the emotions one experiences in such devastating times in a way I’ve never seen so clearly described. She writes,
Grief is a powerful river in flood. It cannot be argued or reasoned or wrestled down to a trickle. You must let it take you where it is going. When it pulls you under, all you can do is keep your eyes open for rocks and fallen trees, try not to panic, and stay faceup so you will know where the sky is. You will need that information later. Eventually, its waters calm and you will be on a shore far from where you began, raw and sore, but clean and as close to whole as you will ever be again.
Since [her] death, [Adam had] held himself back in everything, even with me. Days went by without intimacy. Then he would turn silently to me in the dark, not out of love but out of need, and there was a fierceness to his touch that overwhelmed me. We went at each other as if the hounds of hell were after us. Or we were the hounds themselves. The act was not lovemaking, but grief-making, a new beat manifest, without tenderness, raw and exhausting, throwing us into black, dreamless sleep.
© 2015 Green Heart Guidance