I have had nothing bad happen to me except my own doing. I have let this cowardice envelop me, and I can’t shake it off. I will commit the worst thing you can ever do to someone who loves you: killing yourself. The scary thing is, I’m okay with that.

Loss Adjustment by Linda Collins

“I have had nothing bad happen to me except my own doing. I have let this cowardice envelop me, and I can’t shake it off. I will commit the worst thing you can ever do to someone who loves you: killing yourself. The scary thing is, I’m okay with that.” —Victoria McLeod, Laptop journal, March 30, 2014.

Loss Adjustment is a mother’s recount of her 17-year-old daughter’s suicide.

In the wake of Victoria McLeod’s passing, she left behind a remarkable journal in her laptop of the final four months of her life. Linda Collins, her mother, has woven these into her memoir, which is at once cohesive, yet fragmented, reflecting a survivor’s state of mind after devastating loss.

Loss Adjustment involves the endless whys, the journey of Linda Collins and her husband in honouring Victoria, and the impossible question of what drove their daughter to this irretrievable act. A stunningly intimate portrait of loss and grief, Loss Adjustment is a breaking of silence—a book whose face society cannot turn away from.

Title: Loss Adjustment | Series: N/A | Author: Linda Collins | Genre: BiographyNon-Fiction | Publication Date: September 28, 2019 | Links: Ethos Books

Trigger warnings: Bullying, depression, loss of loved one, self harm, suicide.

After I finished reading Loss Adjustment, it feels closer as a deep and genuine love letter from Linda to her daughter, Victoria, who died in suicide just at the age of 17. Reading about the incident and exploring Linda’s rawest emotions and deepest thoughts, I feel as if  I’m peeking through an intimate mother-daughter scene that I wasn’t supposed to see. It’s just too sacred to be shared with anyone but both of them. 

 

Reading this heartfelt memoir was surely a challenge. Many times, I needed to take a break from reading it because it felt overwhelming and I simply couldn’t keep pushing myself to watch such tragedy. Witnessing how Linda woke up that morning when Victoria died and received the news that changed her life forever. Witnessing how someone like Victoria which described by Linda as someone so cheerful and sweet, but secretly kept all of her darkest feelings and thoughts to herself. Witnessing how heartbroken Linda feels, watching her daughter’s life unfolded layer by layer. Layers that she never knew existed. Witnessing how Linda not simply adjust to her loss, because then it means erasing the fact that Vic existed in this world. Everything was too painful to watch, yet necessary to be shared. 

 

One thing that I’d love to highlight is that ever since it’s earliest pages, this sincere memoir were not forgetful about the beauty of  cultural diversity in Singapore. Each ethnics and religions are obviously has their own way in facing dead and grieve and Linda narrated these differences gracefully. 

All those claims of building better humans, of being the best you can be, of following your passion, of learning to be inclusive and that everyone has something to offer, are all lies.

Lastly, the most important cause of this incident, the ugly truth of school’s obsession for their students’ good grades, and how these bold expectations often affected students’ mental health and nudged them into a bad direction. I think it’s necessary to call out these institutions, especially their horrid way in handling such matters. I thank Linda for sharing this truth with me and with all of her readers, for it must be torturous for her to recalled all of these painful memories.

Thank you to Ethos Books for sending me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

This post is supposed to be up yesterday in honor of Victoria and the World Suicide Prevention Day. If you’re thinking about sharing awareness on this matter and picking up this book before September 27, please consider to pre-order through links below to donate $1 to Samaritans of Singapore, in support of mental health advocacy and suicide prevention in Singapore.

Official’s Website | Books Actually | Booktique | City Book Room | Littered with Books | Times | Wardah Books

Treat people with kindness.

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