The Beauty of What Remains - CoverThe Beauty of What Remains - Cover

Captivating and often heart-wrenching, The Beauty of What Remains is a story of liberating a family from secrets, ghosts, and untold pain;of reuniting four generations shattered by shame and fear; andof finding the ineffable beauty of what remains.


Where are they now, the lost, the forgotten?  With the love in her mother’s silence as her guide, Susan began a quest to find out who the missing people in her family were and what happened to them.  The search led her to Germany, where her father was killed just before the end of WWII; then to a Buddhist monastery in France where she learned new ways to relate to life and death; and ultimately to a state mental hospital in Ohio where the family abandoned her mother’s older sister years earlier.  She believed that her aunt had died – but Hadler, to her great surprise, found her still alive at age ninety-four.  And the story didn’t end there.

“. . . 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

Her story is inspirational for anyone who has ever been met with silence when they asked about their family’s past. The reader is left with a promise that, while disrupting that quiet may be initially, and inevitably, painful, perseverance and being present to what surrounds us—even that which is invisible—will fill any holes we possess with a transformational sense of belonging.”Washington City Paper

“This book is about the power of absence. Can we miss people we never even knew? . . . This book is also about the power of silence. Why did Hadler not know anything about her father or her aunts when she was growing up? Why was her mother so secretive about her first family, actively rebuffing Hadler’s requests for information . . . . compelling.”—The Isthmus

“As Susan weaves in how her Buddhist practice helped her on this rocky road of discovery, the reader learns of the persistence, determination, patience, and kindness it takes to do this deep work. . . We know this is crucial work; when we heal our wounds and those of our families, we help to heal our children and future generations.  If you need a nudge of inspiration or a guide to help you on your way, this book may be just the ticket.” the Mindfulness Bell

“I know of no other book that better accomplishes the seemingly impossible task of showing how to turn loss into gain, or of demonstrating how to create out of absence, presence.  Anyone who has experienced family deprivation needs to read this book, and it is so beautifully written that anybody else will want to.”  Jeffrey Paine, author of Father India and Re-enchantment

The Beauty of What Remains is a heartfelt memoir that often reads like a good mystery.  Hadler shares the process of uncovering her family’s history, including how meditation supported her along the way.  A wonderful book!”  Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness

“Hadler’s story shows how loss, denial, and stigma can drain us. And also how forgiveness and compassion can restore us. Her unique blend of talents – equal parts writer, psychologist, and bloodhound hot on the trail – make for highly engaging and relatable reading. No one who reads this book will ever look at his or her own family history the same way again.”  David A. LandeNational Geographic senior researcher, author of I Was With Patton 

“If you don’t believe it’s possible to miss someone you never knew, Hadler’s quest-based memoir will convince you otherwise. The Beauty of What Remains dovetails the search for her hero father who never came home from war with that of her mysterious aunts. In seeking them, she gradually finds herself, but will keep you pondering the secrets we keep.”  Megan Smolenyak, author of Who Do You Think You Are? 

You may order your copy from: