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Dear Sam: Grieving the Death of My Son

On January 14, 2004, Janet Torge learns that her dynamic 25-year-old son, Sam Lazarus, has contracted cerebral malaria and died while on a dream adventure to Africa. Janet is suddenly plunged into a nightmare but is determined to deal with her despair in a very unique way. She begins writing letters to cope with the horror of her loss and to chronicle the farewell journey that must inevitably follow. Like many grieving parents, Janet writes to capture her heartache. But Sam’s early physical challenges forged a powerful bond between mother and son, and Janet is able to imagine the world from Sam’s perspective. She creates responses to her letters that not only describe Sam’s own journey but also provide words of comfort to an anguished mother. The result is a heartfelt and poignant goodbye unlike any other. Counselors and books can comfort and advise, but only a grieving parent can fully understand the hell of losing a child. With intimacy, humour, and honesty, this memoir illuminates the darkness that follows the death of a loved one.

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