My review of “Medicine Walk” by Richard Wagamese
Eldon is dying of liver failure and he asks Frank to take him out to the wilderness to die. During their 40 mile trip, which is carried out on horseback, Eldon reveals things about himself that he never told anyone else.
Some words are simply too painful to be spoken, so we bottle them up and keep them hidden by resorting to destructive behavior. This may not always make sense to those looking on, but for the suffering person, it is a living hell of an existence.
And this is Eldon’s story.
Eldon explains why he never talked about what happened to him in the past and why he instead remained silent for so many years: “I was scared that if I’d fall right back into the hurt of it and keep fallin’ way beyond any bottom I ever landed in and not know how to find my way back again.”
In her 2018 CBC Massey Lecture series, titled All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward, Tanya Talaga writes:
Profound trauma servers to isolate everyone from each other and everything they know, leaving them in a state of disrepair, feeling lost and unknowing. The isolation, the loneliness of having no belonging, is almost like a force field that surrounds you; you can’t reach out, and no one can reach in. You can’t talk to anyone your bring anyone into your world of grief, and the only time you feel safe is when you are alone, when you are completely isolated and cut off from everyone else. These feelings shatter any chance of creating healthy human attachments. This is what is means to live through the trauma lens.