Deadline Now: S. Amjad Hussain
Friday, December 14, 2012 at 8:30 p.m.
Dr. S. Amjad Hussain's most recent book is With Whom Shall I Talk In the Dead of Night, a collection of letters written by Dr. Hussain following the death of his beloved wife Dottie.
In writing to Dottie, he confronts his own loss and endless grief and the anguish of his three children. As the months pass, Dr. Hussain grapples with the profound and the mundane … exasperated with his inability to find anything in his own house, frustrated the well-intentioned but sometimes clumsy attempts of friends to console him, he slowly comes to terms with a life now lived alone.
Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, holds an emeritus professorship in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at the University of Toledo, where he is a member of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Hussain is also a columnist for The Toledo Blade.
On the web: www.utoledopress.edu
Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of "Deadline Now:"
Nobody really knows how they will cope with the death of the most important person in their world, till it actually happens to them.
That happened to Dr. Amjad Hussain six years ago this month, when his wife died of cancer. Dr. Hussain is a highly educated man, fully at home in two cultures and two religious traditions.
He had close friends, wonderful children and grandchildren and a great support system, but in the end, he was alone with his grief.
One way he found to help him cope was by writing a series of letters to his now-vanished wife. The result is a highly touching portrait of a couple, a remarkable woman, and an equally remarkable marriage. My guess is that through these letters we know as much or more about Dottie Hussain than we would have if he had instead tried to write a book about her. His portrait is very vivid.
In his grief, Dr. Hussain must have wished a thousand times that he could bring his vivacious, beautiful, stubborn and shy wife back to life. Well, in a very real way he has done that here.
Dottie Hussain, eyes flashing, comes back to life over and over in these pages, as does her remarkable husband, a man who is suddenly cut off from the person he shared everything with.
This book is a very moving account of his journey to widowhood, but it is actually more than that.
It is sort of a road map for anyone of any faith who suddenly finds their partner gone, their scent still clinging to their clothes, their place in the bed still clearly distinct. Eventually, all of us lucky enough to have people we care about will be in a place similar to where Dr. Hussain stood on a winter’s day six years ago.
It is a remarkable literary document. And if his experience helps just one person when their time of grief arrives, my guess is that the doctor will realize that sacrificing some privacy was worth it.