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This too shall pass

Being 40, an age she never saw herself in and losing her mom after going through a tough disease. This is the starting point for Milena Busquets, a Catalan writer, in her book “This too shall pass”, that tells a story, in a touchy but also ironic way, about the pain of death and the search for fitting it into life

Joanna Kosinska Unsplash

*“Never will his eyes look at me again. When the world begins to depopulate from the people who love us, little by little we turn into unknown. My place in the world was in his eyes and he seemed so incontestable and eternal that I never bothered to see what was it about.”

The Catalan writer, Milena Busquets starts her book This too shall pass (Companhia das Letras) at her mom’s funeral. The story follows talking about the first summer in the grieving process spent at the family’s beach house, in a Spanish city called Cadaqués. Milena exposes what she feels with the loss and also the life that goes on after it; with humor, irony, openly and in a tough way. Her fluent writing touches for the courage to admit ups and downs, a mix of the will to get back the pleasures of love and sex and the acknowledgement that her mother will never be there again. It is a book that makes us laugh and cry, an honest portrait of a generation (the author is 44 years old) who learned to live freely and intensely, established new family relations and believe in the illusion of having complete control of their affections. Before the shock of death, they don’t know where to place the pain of absence. As she described beautifully (the book is filled with beautiful sentences) *“I’m afraid the world is getting too empty, it’s been days I feel the presence of my beloved ones who passed away, as a silent and proud strength that moves us, but there are other days that seem to be only cliffs all around me.”

Milena Busquets Companhia das Letras

The title is about impermanence, taken from a story that her mother told her one day, sitting by the bed in order to comfort her when her dad died: *“Once upon a time, in a very distant place, perhaps in China, a powerful emperor, wise and compassionate, one day gathered all the wise men of the kingdom, philosophers, mathematicians, scientists and poets and told them: “I want a short phrase that fits every possible occasion all times, always.” The wise men left and spent months and months reflecting. Finally, they returned and told the emperor: “We already have the sentence, and it is as follows: This too shall pass.”

*This too shall pass passages – free translation – for copyright reasons the book passages are not available on the internet for reproduction.