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Miriam's World - and Mine    by Rosemary Mild order for
Miriam's World - and Mine
by Rosemary Mild
Order:  USA  Can
Magic Island, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

On December 21, 1988, a terrorist bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Miriam Luby Wolf, age twenty, was one among thirty-five students of Syracuse (New York) University returning from a semester study program in London, England. All passengers and Pan Am flight crew members, as well as eleven Lockerbie citizens died. Of the loss of her only child, Rosemary Mild says, 'Time heals and it doesn't. The pain doesn't fizz and disappear like an Alka Seltzer plopped into a glass of water. And I don't expect it to.'

Rosemary's book of her own harrowing journey through loss was inspired by Miriam's legacy of love, humor, idealism - and a zillion friendships. Such is a mother's grief expressed in Miriam's World - and Mine. Rosemary brings us up to date on the legal crises of Pan Am 103; the trials of two Libyan intelligence agents and outrage at justice undone; continued nightmares in mourning; and comfort in the array of families' memorials, including scholarships in the USA and Scotland, sculptures, a baseball field, the Syracuse University Remembrance Wall, and the Syracuse University Remembrance Quilt.

Miriam wrote in her high school yearbook: 'I plan to sing and dance my way through life, become internationally famous and live happily ever after ...' Miriam's wisdom and wit is included in the book through her entertaining stories, poems, diaries, and essays. In Chapter 3 entitled And the Earth Turned Its Face, the author writes 'The earth turns its face the farthest from the sun today, as if hiding in shame, as it does for the winter solstice every year ... December 21, 1988, moved innocently along, with no foreshadowing of the tragic evil in store for it.'

In Chapter 4 entitled A House Full, A House Empty, family and friends were sitting shivah. Rosemary had composed biographical sheets for reporters. Of Miriam, she says: 'the day she was murdered, on the day she fell 31,000 feet to her death; my only child left us all a profound legacy. I call it Miriam's gift ... Her insight earned trust and love. Miriam was larger than life'. Miriam was a multi-talented young woman. She continually gave of herself including as a camp counselor, teacher, and winning awards for achievement in elementary and high school, as well as college.

Among many recollections of Miriam at different ages, Rosemary shares with readers an incident at age eight when 'Miriam emptied the small suitcase of all the dolls' outfits then proceeded to fill it with items of her own. In the front hall, Miriam stopped and declared, 'I'm running away. Talk me out of it.' Rosemary did so, and asked her daughter why she wanted to run away. Miriam's whispered response was: 'Because you and Daddy argue so much'. Rosemary describes Miriam further: 'She seemed to have been born with an adult sense of purpose'.

Police and volunteers searched the grounds of Lockerbie, gathering every scrap of wreckage for assistance in identifying the victims, even down to a small earring of Miriam's found in the rubble. Over many months, Lockerbie volunteers gathered suitcases of clothing, washing and ironing each item, meticulously wrapping each in plastic bags to be returned to each victim's family. The harshness of her loss continued as Rosemary unpacked each box of identifiable belongings that arrived over time.

Miriam's World - and Mine encompasses many separate stories: of Miriam; her friends and their memoirs; Rosemary; other families of victims and their memorials; the police and people of Lockerbie; the making of a memorial quilt (which hangs at Syracuse University); the building of memorials both in the USA and Scotland; the court trials in the Netherlands; and the families forming lobbying groups. Sculptor Suse Lowenstein created Dark Elegy, a grouping of seventy-five larger-than-life-size sculptures of mothers (including herself), wives, and grandmothers who lost loved ones on Pan Am 103. Each woman is posed at the moment when she learned the horrendous news.

I highly recommend Rosemary's book to all readers and especially to those who have suffered/are suffering a tragedy, a loss, and climbing through the healing tunnel. Miriam's World - and Mine is a haunting, unforgettable story that stays with the reader long after the last pages of the book are closed.

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