North of Hope, by Shannon Huffman Polson

May 1, 2014

After Huffman Polson’s father and stepmother were mauled and killed by a grizzly bear, she retraced their steps in the Arctic region. Completing their unfinished trek was not sufficient to heal her wounds. She sang Mozart’s Requiem in the Seattle Symphony Chorus, led by Itzhak Perl­man. The Requiem, along with Kathleen Norris’s book Dakota, gave her a structure to process her grief. She also discovered Kaddish, Leon Wieseltier’s account of the yearlong Jewish mourning process, which he followed upon the death of his father. Additionally, Huffman Polson found saving grace in discovering the writings of Walter Brueggemann on lament, and she came to see her own writing as lament—not writing what she thought she ought to write, but writing the truth.