“The Rich Hours of Jacominus Gainsborough” by Rébecca Dautremer


What does “The Rich Hours” mean? The author writes in her introductory note responding to children: “It’s a poetic and refined way to talk about someone’s life. And refined, in this case, means that I have used complex words, such as The Rich Hours, to say something simple, like life.”

And what does a book about life seek in a list of books on loss and grief? How cliché could my answer be once again: Well, speaking of death, we speak of life!

And how did this Jacominus, whose life deserved to be a story told, live? Like all of us… “Jacominus crossed paths with many others. With some who resembled him… others whom he didn’t understand. Some whom he loved with all his heart… and others with whom he felt comfortable. Some who confused him… Some whom he could have trusted… or others from whom he should have guarded himself. A bunch with whom he journeyed… Many he forgot even though he didn’t want to… and others to whom he could never say thank you enough.”

How difficult it is to present a picture book with such a simple text!

How difficult the simple things are. And beautiful!

This is how the author presents the birth, the journey of Jacominus’ life, and his death… as simple as to make us ponder which is truly that moment when a person conserves their strength for the significant and learns to enjoy. What is that moment when one realizes the meaning and sees death, no longer as a disaster, but as an end to a beautiful journey of life.

Death is not hidden, nor loss, nor grief… they are presented as such an integral part of the journey, that if they were absent, life – that desired one, the one without heroes and complications – would not exist. The “small and brave and full. A lovely little life that did its job well…” and it’s worthwhile.

Picture: https://www.frenchrights.com/jacominus-gainsborough

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