After her son Cully’s death in an avalanche near their home in Breckenridge, Colorado, Sarah St. John is having difficulties. She has returned to work as a host of a local TV show but finds it hard to raise the enthusiasm needed. She is angry at the loss of her son, who had only just graduated from college, and is upset with herself for nagging him about his recent aimlessness. She is suffering from grief and a loss of identity.
Then she begins discovering facts about Cully that she didn’t know. She finds paraphernalia for selling pot in his room, which jolts her. A young woman named Kit comes to see her, pretending to want a snow-shoveling job, but she is really Cully’s girlfriend. Sarah had never even heard of her before.
Sarah’s family and friends are planning to attend a second memorial for Cully in Colorado Springs given by his friend Morgan. Sarah is dreading it, as she does not know how to deal with the sympathy or attention. Feeling the need to discuss the drug discovery, she asks Cully’s father Billy, whom she never married, to come see her the day before the memorial.
This novel is a wise and heart-warming, sometimes humorous examination of grief and of life’s surprises. As in The Descendants, a disjointed and somewhat alienated family becomes closer and gathers new members after experiencing grief and making hard decisions.
I found myself liking all the characters. Sarah is handling her feelings poorly but is sympathetically human. Her father Lyle is a retired public relations executive for one of the resorts. He is not doing retirement very well, giving his ex-coworkers unsolicited advice and buying too many gadgets on QVC. He moved in temporarily with Sarah and Cully and somehow never left, but Sarah likes him being there. Billy is calm and supportive, quietly dealing with his own grief. Sarah’s friend Suzanne, in the midst of a divorce, is at once annoying, interfering, and caring.
I will soon be reviewing The Descendants, but in The Possibilities I find another satisfying and touching novel by Hemmings.