Maria Hopfgarten’s son Jacob was born on January 31, 2006. He was the most perfect baby boy she had ever seen. But Jacob had devastating health issues, culminating in a diagnosis of mitochondrial disease, a fatal condition. In the ten short years of Jacob’s life, Maria found strength in blogging about Jacob’s life. Her raw, honest posts from the year after Jacob’s passing have been gathered into this book along with Maria’s tips for parents coping with their their own grief after losing a child. “If you have lost a child, you know you’re weathering the largest storm life can bring you. I hope that my words of loss, tears, punches, smiles, friendships, and renewed happiness can give you a sense of not being along on this journey.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
No story has ever hit me as hard as Letters to Jacob: Grieving the Loss of a Child by Maria Hopfgarten did. The “Introduction” did not just bring tears to my eyes; it had me sobbing. I had to lay the book down several times because I could not see the words through my tears.
Each “letter” to Jacob touched my heart deeply, and I felt the family’s pain and their love during and after his departure from this world. At the end of each letter, Maria Hopfgarten (the author and mother to Jacob) gave helpful and thoughtful tips/pieces of advice in “Coping with Grief.” Since there are over 100 in all, I don’t think Maria Hopfgarten will mind if I share a few with you.
- Transform pieces of your loved one’s clothing into blankets or pillows.
- Plant a tree or bush in memory of them.
- “Cherish your family who is still standing by your side.”
Through the sadness, many touching moments will make you smile and possibly cry some more. I don’t want to divulge too much, but certain events recapped will emphasize how one little boy touched so many hearts, and his story will continue to do so for many years to come.
After the “Epilogue,” I thought my crying time was over. I was wrong. “Mom” didn’t just make me cry a little — it caused me to sob. Throughout the story, I thought of my children, especially at this point, and the tears would not stop flowing. Even now, as I write this review, I’m wiping tears off my cheeks and stopping to blow my nose repeatedly.
Maria Hopfgarten, thank you for sharing Jacob’s story with us. It was sad, beautifully written, and I’m forever changed for reading it.
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
(deserves a million more)
Buy the Book
Meet the Author
Maria Hopfgarten began her blog Moments with Jacob in 2009, writing about Jacob’s life with mitochondrial disease. She had followers around the globe. Maria continued to write blog posts to Jacob after he passed in 2016 to make sense of the loss of her son. Jacob was 10 years old. She has now turned part of the blog into the book “Letters to Jacob,” sharing her raw, honest first-hand experience on grieving the loss of a child.
Maria is the President of the non-profit Miracles for Mito and has been supporting families living with mitochondrial disease for over a decade. She has also been an active Parent Partner at Children’s Hospital Colorado and has been a Parent voice for many chronically ill children. Maria also sits on the Patient Safety Committee of the Board at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Originally from Sweden and with a degree in Journalism from Stockholm University, Maria lives with her husband Joakim, daughter Sarah, and rescue dog Max in Colorado. Her favorite thing to do is to share a good cup of coffee or glass of wine with a friend. Maria loves the outdoor and is always up for a bike ride or hike.
Filed under Uncategorized