Billy, Me & You : A Graphic Memoir of Grief and Recovery Paperback
Nicola Streeten's little boy, Billy, was two years old when he died following heart surgery for problems diagnosed only ten days earlier. Thirteen years later, able finally to revisit a diary written at the time, Streeten began translating her notes into a graphic novel.
The result, a retrospective reflection from a 'healed' perspective and gut wrenchingly sad at moments, is an unforgettable portrayal of trauma and our reaction to it - and, especially, the humour or absurdity so often involved in our responses. As Streeten's story unfolds and we follow her and her partner's heroic efforts to cope with well-meaning friends and day-to-day realities, we begin to understand what she means by her aim to create a 'dead baby story that is funny'.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 128 pages, chiefly Illustrations
- Publisher: Myriad Editions
- Publication Date: 27/10/2011
- Category: True stories
- ISBN: 9780956559944
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Review by drachenbraut23
This was a very interesting book as it deals with the way how differently we deal with grief. Especially interesting for me, because of my job I am involved on a regular basis in palliative care and end-of-life care. This is the story of Nicola and John who lost their firstborn child in 1995. Billy was at the time two years old and was only diagnosed a few weeks earlier with a complicated heart disease and didn't survive the heart surgery. The book is presented as a graphic novel and shows the different stages of grief and finally the acceptance, Nicola and her husband John, went through. The author created the book together with her teenage daughter to finally? come to terms with Billy's death. It shows very clearly the different stages they went through, as a couple, and the difficulties they encountered to finally find a way back into a normal life and the steps they took to actually build a new life. Nicola shows how scared she was when she found out about her new pregnancy and how she felt when she went to antenatal classes and later, after her daughter Sally was born, the difficulties she encountered (in regards to her own emotions) when she went to the playground and toddler groups. Beautifully written and the author shows very clearly that the process of grieving "can't" be put that easily into stages.