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Love in the Archives, a Patchwork of True Stories About Suicide Loss

Love in the Archives, a Patchwork of True Stories About Suicide Loss

By Eileen Vorbach CollinsPublisher: Apprentice House Press, Loyola UnivISBN: 978-1-62720-491-0Genre: Creative NonfictionPrice: PB $18.99, HC $29.99 Kindle $6.99
Available from: Amazon

When her fifteen-year-old daughter Lydia ends her life, Eileen finds support in a community of bereaved parents who understand her pain on a level others cannot. No one in the group places a time limit on this grief. As the years pass, Eileen finds ways to honor the memories. She even learns to laugh again.

In Love in the Archives, a collection of linked narrative essays incorporating themes of surviving suicide loss, Judaism, interfaith marriage, and mental illness, Eileen walks us through those difficult years.

Eileen Vorbach Collins' award-winning essays have been widely published. A Baltimore native, she holds a degree in nursing from the University of Maryland and a masters in pastoral care from Loyola. Eileen began writing as a way to process her grief after her daughter's suicide. Her essays uniquely fuse pathos with joy and everyday subjects with the big questions, while holding space for humor. Eileen lives in Garner, North Carolina with her husband, Hugh, and Sugar, possibly the world's oldest living Labrador.


A prolific essayist, Collins brings readers through these moments with skill and care, never plunging us so far into her own at times all-consuming despair that we abandon reading. Instead, in each essay she finds new pathways into the truth of her experience, by turns sad and funny, despondent and bursting with life. In every case, love is the underpinning that carries her—and us—through to a satisfying and genuine close, though of course her grief has no end.

Casey Mulligan Walsh

Well, the problem with Eileen Vorbach Collins’ memoir… is that it’s just too good. Too well-written, too illustrative, too raw. And I’ll tell you why that’s a problem: because the subject matter — teenage suicide — is very difficult to read. Vorbach Collins cracks open her grief from her daughter Lydia’s death and spills it onto the table for us to observe and to absorb.

This book has the one key element that I believe every memoirist aspires to achieve: as a reader, I felt that Vorbach Collins was talking directly to me. Her voice is real, and she shares details that make it so easy to picture what she is describing.

Amy Fish

Eileen’s essays are not about me and yet they are. They are because she gives voice to my own grief, all the griefs I hold in my heart, whether it’s grief from euthanizing an old sick cat, grief from losing both my sisters, grief for not being a better daugther to my dad, or grief for my dying mother.

Eileen’s humor and honesty, her economy of words carried me through this collection. I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to know Lydia. I share Eileen’s grief that such a beautiful (body and soul) person is no longer with us, no longer sharing her gifts with the world. I’m also grateful to Eileen for letting me know that I’m not alone in when and how I grieve.

Marie A. Bailey