It’s clear from this book cover – the font, the bright flowers – that this memoir, ‘a mother’s journey through loss’, is not your average ‘misery memoir’. ‘5,742 Days’ is a beautifully written account of a mother’s grief in the days and months directly following the death of her daughter, Martha, aged 15. Anne-Marie Cockburn turned to writing within hours of Martha’s death, recording her feelings ‘as a way to channel her shock and try to make sense of the tragic loss of her only child’.
This woman’s story is remarkable. She sees writing as a way to help other people as well as help herself through the hardest of experiences. Her writing reveals the extent of her suffering but also of her human strength and resilience. There is sometimes laughter too, and she creates the most colourful, personal and moving tributes and rituals to celebrate her daughter’s life and mark milestones along the path of her grief. The book documents her struggles and the very difficult days, but often too how she bolsters herself and refuses to let negative thoughts take over. This book presents a unique perspective of grief and loss, challenges conventional attitudes around death and mourning, and is illuminating and inspiring.