4 out of 4 stars
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Imagine if your whole world was painted with shades of gray, black, and purple – the colors of despair. Life would seem so scary out there with so many responsibilities: school, hobbies, friends, online reality, everything – simply too much to handle. But every morning, you would put on a happy face and lock the looming despair into the depths of your heart. Then you would walk out of the door to face a new day, knowing that everywhere you go, you’d have to shine. Sadly, this is how so many of our children seem to picture the surrounding world. And for some, it becomes too much to handle. Behind their smiling faces, they are astray, alone, and ashamed. Finding a way out of this scary maze of expectations seems impossible. Suicide becomes the only answer. One of these kids was Will Trautwein, a perfectly normal schoolboy. Everybody saw him as a happy, popular, and successful teenager. Unfortunately, nobody knew of his real feelings. Here’s where our true story begins.
The Trautweins were a happy family of six. They could have never imagined what a horrible disaster was heading their way. One morning, Will’s mother Susie found her firstborn dead in his room. Will had taken his own life while the rest of the family was sleeping peacefully. The family was stunned, horrified, and clueless about how this could happen to their precious child. From there on, their life became a struggle of grief, worry, unanswered questions, and self-accusations. The story is told by Will’s father, John Trautwein. He is an old baseball player and has always been the glass-half-full type of a guy. Now the whole glass was totally shattered and didn’t hold even one drop of water. Picking up the pieces turned out to be painful, but John soon realized that he had to find a way to help his family, himself, and other struggling kids out there.
My Living Will by John Trautwein was an extremely emotional read. The author described his loss in such a touching way that remaining as an external observer became impossible. The destiny of his beloved son made me break into tears, and his grieving process became my own. Reading this book at one go was impossible, and I had to take time to organize my thoughts several times. This story broke my heart, but I admired the author’s honesty in sharing these horrendous experiences. The information I gained about teen suicides through this book was valuable. From one father’s painful experience, I learned something about the world our children face every day. This book did not fail to offer tools for more successful interaction with our children. John Trautwein lost his son, but his goal clearly is to keep others alive.
Technically speaking, the implementation of this book was very professional. It had a crucial message, and it was well-written, well-edited, and well-organized. I found only one little detail that could be improved. In my opinion, the author gave too much significance to the timeline from Will’s death to his funeral. I understand this has been a devastating time for John Trautwein, and the execution was truthful to the grieving process. However, as a reader, I felt that it came out slightly repetitive and emotionally exhausting. A bit less would have been enough to make the point.
As has been described above, My Living Will is a prime-quality book by every measure. Therefore, it undoubtedly deserves a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. The author poured his heart and soul into this book and completed his work almost flawlessly. In addition, he set an example that will hopefully inspire many others to act proactively against teenage suicide.
My Living Will by the author John Trautwein is not a light Sunday afternoon read. It is emotional and scary. Still, it shines beautiful rays of hope through the darkness. I warmly recommend this book to everyone who has children or is involved with them through a profession. Depression has many faces, and reading Will’s story can help to save someone’s life!
My Living Will
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