An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination
By Elizabeth McCracken
Completed November 5, 2008
I think there’s an old saying that you should never have to bury your child. Outliving my kids ranks number one in things “I don’t want to happen,” but sadly, there are parents who face this reality every day.
While some parents lose children days, months or years after their births, some parents lose their child before the baby is born, experiencing a stillborn birth. This happened to popular novelist Elizabeth McCracken and was the subject of her memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination.
I have never read a book like this before. As a mom, I am uncomfortable with the thought of losing a child, so I was not sure if I could read McCracken’s story. But with McCracken’s easy writing style, I finished her memoir in one day. Every page sucked me in. And while it’s filled with sadness, you get equal doses of hope and warm memories. She touched on so many important parts of the grieving process, and her reaction to other people’s reactions taught me a lot about how to support someone experiencing a loss.
There were touching moments too. Her chapters about her husband and best friend’s support made me teary-eyed. What a lovely tribute to them both.
McCracken took an uneasy subject and made it very human, very real and very approachable. While it will strike a familiar note with women who experienced the loss of a baby, I think all parents can learn from McCracken’s story. Having gotten to know her at this level, I hope to read her fictional books some day.