Éloïse: Letters to a Lost Child


166 pages
ISBN 1-894663-23-3
DDC 155.9'37





Reviewed by Patricia Morley

Patricia Morley is professor emerita of English and Canadian Studies at
Concordia University and an avid outdoor recreationist. She is the
author of several books, including The Mountain Is Moving: Japanese
Women’s Lives, Kurlek and Margaret Laurence: T


These heartbreakingly beautiful reflections will remind many readers of
the Robert Latimer story, a connection also made by the author. After
caring for his utterly helpless daughter Tracy for almost 13 years,
Latimer acted to end her pain-filled life. For his compassion and
courage, he is now enduring a prison sentence with no eligibility for
parole for 10 years.

Loпse Lavallée was walking with her small son and carrying her baby
girl when the trio were struck by a drunk driver in 1978. Mother and son
survived, but seven-month-old Йloпse was blinded, and suffered severe
brain damage. For the next 12 years she required constant medical and
practical care, until one day she died quietly at home. Lavallée feels
a bond with Latimer. She wrote these “letters” to her lost child
over the next two years, as she searched for peace and insight: “How
can I recreate your beauty, your softness, your strength, your
suffering, and above all your magic? ... All your light, imprisoned ...
Alone, I put my head down and resolve to start my desperate quest for
reunion.” There are dreams, trips to the cemetery, and anger in search
of understanding. And finally, a vision of Йloпse and Tracy Latimer
running hand in hand, “thankful for liberation, free of pain.” So
ends this tragic, deeply moving book.


Lavallée, Loïse., “Éloïse: Letters to a Lost Child,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/9207.