No Hole in the Flame
Maryhelen Snyder, No Hole in the Flame: A story of Love and Loss in Prose and Poetry (Albuquerque, New Mexico: Wildflower Press, 2003)
It is impossible for me to even attempt to be unbiased in a review of this book. The characters are known to me. Ross Snyder, Sr. was one of my most beloved teachers. I knew his entire family including his son, Ross, Jr. about whom this memoir is focused. The Author, Maryhelen, wife of Ross Jr. reflects poetically on the process of loss and grief as she struggles to make sense out of his sunken death caused by a pulmonary embolism. Her frank honesty is almost too stark at some times, offering information that I'm not sure I want to have, but her loving nature combines with her careful writing to make the book a deep and meaningful experience for any who read. The Snyder family had close relationships and I can see the hand of both of Ross Jr's parents in this book. Having worked with Maryhelen's mother-in-law, Martha on a book that was later edited and updated by Maryhelen, I can see much of Martha's influence in the writing style and honest record of the book.
This is a book to be read slowly and carefully, returning from time to time to the poems to understand its reaching beyond the power of words to express some of life's deepest meanings. It was not an easy book for me to read and I suspect that it is not an easy book for anyone to read, but there are times when reaching beyond that which is easy for deeper meaning is rewarding. This is one of those times.