For anyone who has lost a loved one, especially if the grief is recent, For the Love of Robert …A Mother’s Struggle with the Illusion of Separation is a book which may help to ease some of the pain.
There is comfort, anger, humor and love in the story. Harriet Tomlinson Hill of Raleigh, NC. writes about the loss of her 15-year-old son, Robert, following an unimaginable tragic accident. The closeness of her family and friends are evident, and the support afforded all of them through their faith is definitive and inspirational. The book basically tells the story of the way that one family deals with grief and loss in a healthy way, helping broken hearts to mend.
Harriet Hill deals with her grief directly, as a mother who hurts, grieves, cries and gets angry at God. Even so, it is her belief in hope and in God’s unfailing love that is the underlying theme throughout the book. Even in the darkest and most difficult moments, does she feel abandoned by God.
During reflection, Mrs. Hill compares the loss of her son, and the consequent period of grieving, to a book: “And I shall put that book on a shelf nearby so that I can love it often, but I imagine that time will afford me more occasions when that book will need dusting.”
“In this little book, grief becomes the soil for the flowering of an honest, straightforward healing. Those who have experienced this sort of loss, and those who will, can find real comfort in this mother’s story of how broken hearts mend.” Roy Parker, Jr., Fayetteville Observer-Times, 1996.
“Her thoughts and comments are filled with her references to God and to his plan for Robert. And, even while she tells of the horror she experienced during his last days, she brings humor into the picture, telling of her memories and of events of those days. . . . her writing gives tremendous insight into her thought processes as she struggled with the fact that her son died. But reviewers consistently recommend the book to others grieving the loss of a child.” Joan D. Greene, The News-Times, Carteret County, NC
“Ms. Hill is not a professional writer. Her brief 113-page account cannot, and should not, be compared with such classics as C. S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed or John Gunther’s Death Be Not Proud. Instead, her story’s greatest strength lies in how ordinary it is: how everyday, picayune details continued to crowd in, in the midst of tragedy. The loss of a child, an Irish bard once said, is the heart’s needle. Harriet Hill felt it, but shows how she found the strength to go on.” Ben Steelman, Wilmington Star-News, Wilmington, NC
In a review in the North Carolina Asheville Citizen-Times, Carole Currie incorporated a quote from the author: “There is no need to remind me that I have two healthy, vibrant sons and a loving husband. Nor can I fully understand the feelings of someone else going through a tragedy, for we all come from, live in and go toward different paths. Robert did not pass away so that good things could happen, but because he did, value has been added to many lives.”
“Although some might feel that Hill occasionally crosses over into sentimentality, she never asks the reader to take on her losses, just to hear her out. Her prose style is honest and direct. The author explains, ‘Just when I feel I can’t continue the promotions, a mother calls me. She read about the book in the Richmond paper. Her nine-year-old child was killed in a car accident. She was driving. They slid on ice on the way to school. Her heart is broken. I talk with her. I send her a book and I say to myself, that’s why I’m still trying to sell For the Love of Robert. Being there for people is part of being the author of this book.’” Maudy Benz, The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, VA
Winston-Salem Journal, Winston-Salem, NC
The Wilson Daily Times, Wilson, NC
The Daily Reflector, Greenville, NC
The Spectator Magazine, Raleigh, NC
Times-Daily, Florence, AL
On the Southern Best Sellers list: The Oxford American, Oxford, MS
“A vivid description of the grief experience, this story provides insight into the power of spiritual strength and family closeness. Other grieving parents will resonate with the author’s feelings.”
—Julia G. Allen, M.S.W., C.C.S.W
“This is the rarest and most true to life expression of grief I have ever read. It can be a tremendous help to people.”
—Clara Cox Wellons, mother of Bryant Wellons, 1972-1989
“Mrs. Hill’s writing style is captivating, honest and real. Her book will empower others facing the loss of a loved one.”
—Toni James-Manus, M.Ed., M.P.H., Children’s Program Hospice of Wake County, NC