“Never take your present for granted because one day you will want it back.”
Blurb via Goodreads:
What’s worse, living when you want to die or dying while you’re fighting to live?
I’m cold and alone and I’m dead. There’s no air in my lungs. My chest is as cold and hollow as a cave on a snowcapped mountain side. My heart no longer beats there.
Frigid winds whistle through my ribs and the sadness inside me weeps like my favorite tree.
Days ago, I met with death face to face.
The mirror, our meeting place. My two darkened green eyes stared deeply into hers.
I tilted my head to the side. She did too.
“It’s time,” I whispered. “It’s time,” she whispered.
And with that I turned away from her, the woman in the mirror who knew all of my secrets and all of my pain. I walked away from her and yet we’d never been closer than we were in that moment.
The inner struggle was over.
No more arguing with the woman in the mirror.
No more arguing with myself.
The choice was made.
She was the victor. Or was I?
That was the day Riah Winter died.
I have finished LWIW before 2015 ended but I had to let the story consume me and sink in me first before I can write this review. In all honesty, this is my first time to read a book by Kathryn Perez and I was blown away. LWIW is raw and painful yet beautiful and consuming. The story is flawed, the characters are messed up, but these imperfections are the realities of life. Human nature dictates that our flaws be masked and concealed but we all have our truths and oftentimes, our truths are ugly and scarred.
“Mental illness doesn’t listen to reason. It doesn’t even have a language of love. It only knows despair. You cannot blame yourself. You can’t allow temporary problems from your past to become lifelong regrets.”
I believe that there is a piece of Riah in everyone, others more pronounced than the rest. Others just fight the battle stronger and just resist the persistent calls of despair better; but Riah exists, Riah is in the deepest recesses of our hearts and mind, Riah is in you and me.
This is not only the story of Riah Winter as a person but this is a story of the human struggles and what happens when all fight leaves a person. How does one cope?. It asks the question, “How powerful is the mind in controlling these emotions?” and “Who takes the blame and who is at fault?”.
“I know I need to stay strong, but just like rust can weaken even the strongest of metals, depression can weaken even the strongest of people.”
The story is relatively short but there is nothing simple about it. It tackles depression, suicide, pretentions and consequences. Kathryn tackled one of the most nagging issues of mental health; what goes into a depressed person’s mind and the aftermath of a suicide. LWIW is hard to read because it talks about something that is painful and sensitive but Kathryn was able to deliver flawlessly and beautifully that I cannot help but get lost in the story. I felt the pain and remorse; my heart seemed like it was breaking with every word. It was harsh and it was gutting but most importantly, it was real.
“Regret is a painful thing. Few people understand that there are three important things that leave us and can never return. Words. Time. Opportunity. These are things we can never get back.”
LWIW opened my eyes to how one action can cause massive ripples in the lives that that person touches. It is a story of a person’s road to redemption and how one death can cause multiple cracks and fissures.
This read was something that I was not prepared for, not expecting at all, but the mark it left in me will always, ALWAYS be there.