Repaired from “the black tide of mourning”

The Inconsolable

by Christine Pedotti

Albin Michel, 152 pages, €15.90

One morning in April 2019 which “had the beauty of the first days of spring”, Christine Pedotti discovers her husband, Claude, dead on the floor. Struck down. “The man I had lived with for almost forty years was dying (…) and I continued to live,” she writes. Two years later, the Catholic intellectual takes up the pen to tell “the black tide of mourning” during which she did not “stopped swinging between these two sides, that of life, and that of death”. With sensitivity and realism, the author describes “the both tragic and familiar character of the life that continues”the “feeling of living in a thornbush”the questions that assail him: “What are the dead, what becomes of them, where do they go? ” ” Do not understand “ will be for her “a constant test: death is not soluble in reason. She is and remains literally “insane””.

Over the days of mourning, the reader is carried away by this intimate story. It follows the narrator in the rites she performs, Catholic funerals but also personal rites that she invents and which give meaning to her journey. Like this party, the day of her husband’s birthday, where Christine Pedotti suggests that their loved ones plant a Judas tree in their garden, to honor the gardener he was. Familiar with the Scriptures, the director of Christian testimony will draw from the Bible, Exodus, Jacob’s fight, Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus, the stories that put words to her experience.

“I believe that it is this double movement that I too have made: turning away from the obsession with death (…) and freeing myself from the attachment to the “body””, she says. After one “year of all the first times” without the beloved, long as a Holy Saturday, it will take him another year to “to cross the dread of death and the arid expanses of grief before finding joy, like Mary of Magdala”and of “to be able to celebrate (one’s) own Passover”. Inconsoled, but gone over to the side of the living, reconciled with herself and with the absent.

“Believing that Claude is coming to a fulfilled life does not console me for an empty bed, (…) for an interrupted conversation”she writes again, looking for the words to say the after. “I’m repaired in the sense that I’m back in motion. » This testimony, all in finesse and lucidity, offers words and a reflection to understand and live the marital mourning, in the hope that something “is emerging”.


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