Jane E. Jonas tells tale of a life rebuilt
Wisconsin native and UW-Eau Claire alumna Jane E. Jonas has made a courageous choice: to share her personal experiences about love, loss, and the grief of unexpectedly losing her beloved husband, Ric, in her new book Upside Down. Jane’s pure love and devotion to her late husband comes shining through her authentic words. Her brave story begins in the prologue with the gooey “love at first sight romance” on the first day they met, followed shortly by the devastating news that, “Five years, four months, and ten days later, he left, turning [her] life upside down again, and [she] spent the next six years attempting to get over his death.”
The book is less of an outward look at a terrible situation and more of a personal, open journey of how Jane attempted to cope with the awful understanding that her husband had been taken away from her. Jonas herself describes the book as “a story about hope and survival in the face of complete loss.”
Not only does Jonas provide intimate details about her personal emotions following the event but she also allows the reader into her struggle to find strength in the voyage she had to take in order to return to a life of “normalcy.”
In order to find some sort of this normalcy and in an attempt to truly remember and honor her husband, Ric, the author began making entries in a grief journal. Jane also feared forgetting any of the little details of the cherished time she spent with her husband and so began recording everything she could remember from the five year relationship they shared. These journal entries, recorded memories, and personal stories are what ultimately comprise the book Upside Down.
The book is obviously based on an overwhelming tragedy, but Jane Jonas has demonstrated just how strong she really is by also expressing love and humor through her words and eventually allowing a negative situation to be one that enriches her life instead of destroying it. “There is life after death,” she writes in her memoirs.
Jonas doesn’t exactly offer advice to others in her book but hopes that the raw honesty she expresses through the journey she took and the things she experienced will allow others in similar situations to have hope, even when it seems like it is impossible. “I believe my story can help others who find themselves in tragic circumstances. They can take to heart that they too are not crazy, but are grieving in the way they need to in order to move on. I am not looking to give advice, I am simply relating my experience,” Jonas shares.
Although advice may not have been the original intent of the author, it is evident that this book offers many other people the ability to find strength and courage through Jonas’s experiences and her willingness to share them so honestly. Through her honesty, Jonas allows the reader to form a true connection with her roller coaster of emotions-- from pain, confusion, and grief to humor, adoration, and eventual serenity. This creates an understanding that makes you feel like you really know her and understand what she is going through. The capability to come out of a tragedy of this magnitude with the belief that all the suffering you endured made you a better person proof of Jane Jonas’s pure power and, despite its apparent sadness, her book gives readers an inspiring, happy ending while doing justice to her late, loving husband, Ric.