"Shade it black": Turning Sorrow into Wisdom

I never stop being fascinated with stories of people who go through hardship and then gather enough strength and willpower to help or inspire others. One of such stories is related in Jess Goodell’s memoir, “Shade it black: Death and after in Iraq.” Goodell was a marine and when she was serving in Iraq, her task was to recover and process the remains of fallen soldiers.


Despite her best intentions, the remains of some soldiers could only partially be recovered; the body parts that were missing were shaded in black in the official military documents she had to prepare. She was also responsible for documenting and returning to families anything that the soldiers carried in their pockets: from spoons and trash to photos of girlfriends and fetuses that would become their children. Continue reading »