Paint The Sunrise
Even though I play June 22 over and over and over in my mind, it comes in short bursts of intensity, like lightning in a desert thunder storm. I find myself completely detached from reality for a few moments, just long enough to paint the image, and send me reeling…. I remember every detail; each one burned into me like a brand I can’t wash away. Things that shouldn’t have any significance are now the things that threaten to destroy my life daily. Paint the Sunrise is a gripping story of tragic loss, overwhelming grief, and learning to live again. In sharply written detail, author Carrie Mae Messerly recounts the harrowing circumstances of a preventable automobile accident that claimed the life of her four-year-old son, Koley, when he was struck just four feet in front of her. In striking, direct prose, the book brings to life the horrible moments of this traumatic event and her experiences in its aftermath. Deeply personal and excruciatingly honest, Paint the Sunrise catalogues a succession of reactions and emotions, from intense mourning, numbness, physical deterioration, condemnation, guilt, and hate, as it resounds with grief and pain unimaginable to most individuals. Carefully crafted to focus on Messerly’s direct personal experience rather than the grief of others, Paint the Sunrise adeptly masks private details and limits the interactions of outside characters in order to protect them and remain respectfully discrete. As such, this arresting narrative mines the terrain of the most personal feelings—her loss, her pain, and the ways in which she chose to deal with it and move forward. The result is a haunting and brave book in which nothing is left unsaid. Interspersed are highly personal reflections and observations on the nature of motherhood, the bond between parent and child, the meaning of family, and the providential quality of God. These revelatory passages offer counterpoint and contrast to the searing emotion that punctuates the tale of the author’s journey toward being able to engage with life again. Images simple and poetic, such as a perfect blue sky dappled gracefully with weightless clouds overhanging a delicate path through a field of pristine flowers, resonate all the more deeply, given the broader tragic context in which they are set. In this light, the book is not merely a true story, but it is equally the author’s spirit and soul reflected in print. Paint the Sunrise maps a desolate mental and spiritual landscape that, fortunately, most readers will never have to personally endure. The author’s story illustrates an emotional pendulum, as she, through open communication, brings forward feelings and realities that are consuming and overwhelming. It is her hope that this book will engender empathy and a sense of humanity in others who are facing their own battles, and that readers will be able to extrapolate the sincere honesty in the barrage of emotions she presents and ultimately see that these are inherently normal in all humans. Ultimately, Paint the Sunrise will exemplify hope for those who are suffering loss or heartache, as it serves as the author’s tribute to her beautiful son.