The death of a parent is a traumatic experience for any child, regardless of that child’s age. When you witness your parent fighting, and later succumbing to an illness, this experience creates a whirlpool of emotions: fear, anger and sadness. At the end of one’s journey through grief, you hope that you emerge stronger. You seek to remember your parent with smiles, not tears. If you are truly blessed, you document your journey towards healing in a way that benefits yourself and hopefully, inspire others. That’s exactly what actress Alicia Coppola has done in her book Gracefully Gone.
The title is a wonderfully appropriate. Through this book, Coppola honors her father’s legacy in a loving, graceful way.
Alicia Coppola is an accomplished actress whose career on both daytime and primetime television expands decades. She was Lorna Devon on the soap opera, Another World . She also has had roles on Jericho, Two and a Half Men, Law and Order, Crossing Jordan and Suits.
In Gracefully Gone, Coppola combines two journals. The first journal was written in the early 1980s by her father, Matthew L. Coppola, Sr. following his diagnosis and later remission from brain cancer. The second journal is Alicia Coppola’s own reflections, written in the early 1990s, as she witnessed her father fight and eventually succumb to the disease.
Coppola’s words reveal the pain and anger of a young woman in her early twenties. Her raw honesty peppers this book as she tries to carve a life for herself within the backdrop of a terrible disease. Cancer is the antagonist of Coppola’s story and she is the courageous protagonist.
I highly recommend Gracefully Gone. It is an inspiring book that anyone who has dealt with the loss of a loved one can easily relate.