“Even just a few moments might help you to know the love of God who walks alongside you and loves you in and through your grief, your tears. Maybe there are sometimes things that we only see through our tears, things that when dry-eyed, are invisible.”
Scent of Water is a beautiful book. It is a book dealing with grief and loss but in a special way. This book sits close to you in your grief and is simply there for you, waiting. Most of the book is taken up with 25 week-long devotions. The devotions are grouped under headings that could work like topics. They can be read in any order, so you could choose a theme, rather than the next one on the list. Between each week there is a beautiful photograph. Just turning the pages, reading words, prayers and thoughts is soothing in itself.
Penelope Swithinbank, the author, explains at the start of the book how the sudden loss of her mother caused her to sink into depression. Throughout the book, Penelope explains empathy so well: Just sit with me. Don’t hug me, don’t say anything. I loved that. It is hard to say the right thing when we are grieving with someone, and we want to ease their burden, say something to lessen the pain. Penelope explains how she couldn’t handle words and hugs when grieving, so the devotions are short but meaningful.
Before the devotions, there is a short section with prayers for special occasions, like the day of the funeral, New Year, a year onwards. I loved that, for those days are so hard, and it can be difficult to find the right words.
I loved the depth of the devotions. It isn’t brushing grief away or telling you to feel or do anything. It is allowing you to simply be in your grief, but gently leading you to God in your grief. It points out that one day, the sun will shine again, but that is for another day.
The book is kind and gentle. It deals with grief in all its sadness, but there is so much hope here as well. Scent of Water has a section at the end with some beautiful poems, prayers and short messages. The one I loved the most was the one about the Fellowship of the Mat. It was such a powerful piece, it made me think about grieving with others, and the true meaning of empathy.
I’m grateful that Penelope has used her own experiences of grief and her notes written during that dark time, to reach out to others. This book would make a thoughtful gift to somebody grieving. I was so moved reading the devotions, as they evoke memories of loved ones who died. The book looks gorgeous as well.
I received a review copy but was under no pressure or obligation to write a favourable review. These are my personal views.