I went into this book blind and wow, was it good. Like, blow me away good. Like five stars and why are more people not talking about this book, good. The message is one so many of us need: live for today, tomorrow is never promised. The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Brammer takes a normally sad/taboo/depressing subject like death and turns it into a celebration of life. I fell hard for this book, and it will be one I will recommend for years to come. I could have highlighted most of the book because the story was so profound. This is one of those books that reminds you of how much life is worth living and every day is truly a blessing.
Clover is a death doula and spends most of her time helping people through their final moments in life. This leaves her with little time to spend living her own. Clover meets a feisty old woman with a forgotten love story that Clover honors by making a trip across the country to help her find a happy ending. She finds herself navigating new friendship and romance and learns about what makes life worth living for.
Prior to reading The Collected Regrets of Clover, I had only heard of a birth doula, but the concept of a death doula makes so much sense. Having a compassionate presence to help guide you out of life, just as you had someone guide you into life is something that so many people can benefit from. From the first page, you get the impression that Clover is a kind, introspective person who puts the needs of others ahead of her own. Each person that she takes on as a client has some semblance of final words that fall into one of three categories: regrets, advice and confessions. Clover documents these in notebooks that she returns to in order to honor the souls she helped usher out of the world. There is so much beauty in that tradition and it left a lasting impression with me.
I loved watching Clover's journey unfold as she navigates putting herself out there with a new friendship and potential love interest. There is so much for all of us to relate to when it comes to navigating life and human connection. Clover embarks on a journey to help one of her clients rectify a lifelong regret and it turns into the most beautiful, kismet connection. I cannot say enough good things about this book. Clover will find her way into your heart and this story with stick with you long after you finish the last page.
Favorite Quotes (there are many…)
"There are few rawer expressions of vulnerability than I love you."
"But while a mother who miscarries might not have ever had the chance to hold that child, they had plenty of time to love them, to dream and hope for them. And that means their grief is twofold-they're not just grieving the child, but the life they never got to experience. Who are we to tell anyone their pain isn't worthy?"
"Looking other people's pain in the eye was much easier than facing your own."
"The truth is, grief never really goes away. Someone told me once that it's like a bag that you always carry-it starts out as a large suitcase, and as the years go by, it might reduce to the size of a purse, but you carry it forever."
"Don't let the best parts of life pass you by because you're too scared of the unknown."