Of course after reading The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, and realizing that I had put the cart before the horse, I really needed to read Harold Fry’s story as well. I had to dig to find it add found one copy of it in our county library system.
In Queenie’s story, Harold, is somewhat of a shadow in the background. I determined to learn more about him.
Harold and his wife, Maureen, had drifted away from each other both emotionally and physically, much of it in the wake of their son committing suicide. Each chose to deal with it – or to not deal with it.
One day Harold found a letter from Miss Queenie Hennessy in the post. She told him she was dying, and that she wanted to let him know how much she appreciated the help that he had given when they worked in the same work place. She told him that she was dying, and she wanted to say goodbye.
This was a woman that she had not seen in 20 years. And her death process was the trigger that awakened Harold. He left his home with only the clothes on his back, the letter from Queenie and the determination to walk 600 miles to keep her alive.
Inspirational books like this one can so easily deteriorate into maudlin mush, but Joyce, as with the book about Queenie, kept the emotions balanced with the story. It stays within the possible. It is one of those stories that keep on giving long after one has read it.