Called “such a sad, tough story, but finally so life-affirming, filled with spirit and love” by Anne Lamott, this is a raw and intensely affecting memoir by a young priest about loss of a child, its grief and its aftermath, and the hard-won joy that can follow.
Liz Tichenor has taken her newborn son, five weeks old, to the doctor, from a cabin on the shores of Lake Tahoe. She is sent home with the baby, who is pronounced “fine” by an Urgent Care physician. Six hours later their baby dies in their bed. Less than a year before, Tichenor’s mother has jumped from a building and killed herself after a long struggle with alcoholism. As a very young Episcopal priest, she has to “preach the good news,” to find faith where there is no hope, but she realizes these terrible parts of her own life will join her in the pulpit.
The Night Lake is the story of finding a way forward through a tragedy that seems like it might be beyond surviving, and of learning to do so while trying to lead her community. It’s the story of parenting a toddler who is delighted with the world and doesn’t yet understand death, of standing in vulnerability before a congregation, and of learning to carve out space for the slow labor of learning to live again, in grief.