Category: Reviews

“Parts of Hadler’s family tree was shrouded in darkness.  When she was only a few months old, she lost her father at the end of World War II to a mine explosion, an event that so shattered her mother that she refused to talk to her children about him, instead starting a new life and family by marrying again.  Hadler’s search for her father as an adult, a journey that took her to the last places on earth that he walked, serves as a prelude in this meditative memoir to her quest to discover what happened to her mother’s estranged sisters.  What she discovers is a legacy of loss and mental illness, with repercussions for the generations that followed.  Her years as a psychotherapist are evident in her measured, sympathetic treatment of the struggles faced by those in the family who used silence to cover tragedy.  Both an exploration of loss and a celebration of discovering connections, The Beauty of What Remains is a moving account of one woman’s efforts to make her family whole.” Booklist

If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.  All of them are alive in this moment.  Each is present in your body.  You are the continuation of each of these people.  In turn, your children will be a continuation of you.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Our teacher reminds us that we are not separate from our ancestors; we inherit their talents and their flaws, their joy and their suffering.  That is why, when a piece of our family history is missing, a part of us is missing and we can feel it.  And because family secrets usually hide stories of suffering, it takes great courage to do the work of unearthing what is hidden, of making whole what has been denied, often for generations.

From a review published on line in This Is My Symphony by Laurie:  “I think what appealed to me the most about this memoir was the author’s navigation of all things family.  Navigating the waters of family secrets and wading through repressed memories, Hadler speaks her truth – painfully, cautiously, but always honestly.  The Beauty of what Remains is a beautiful story, compellingly told.”