"Giffels does well as a voice of the Midwest...but this is for everyone." --Library Journal
From the acclaimed author of The Hard Way on Purpose
, a vibrant, heartfelt memoir about confronting mortality, surviving loss, finding resilience in one's Midwest roots and seeking a father's wisdom through an unusual woodworking project--constructing his own coffin.
David Giffels grew up fascinated by his father's dusty, tool-strewn workshop and the countless creations--both practical and fantastical--it inspired. So when he enlisted his eighty-one-year-old dad for the unusual project of building a casket, he thought of it mostly as a way to learn and to spend time together. Life had other plans.
The unexpected death of his mother and, a year later, of his best friend, coupled with turning fifty and the growing realization that his father won't always be around for such offbeat adventures, leads to a harsh confrontation with mortality and loss.
Over the course of several seasons, Giffels returns to his father's barn in the country, a place cluttered with heirloom tools, exotic wood scraps and long memory, to continue a pursuit that grows into a meditation on grief and optimism, the pleasures of woodcraft, a quest for wisdom, and a way to cherish time with an aging parent.
In this soulful, panoramic memoir and father-son story, Giffels confronts some of the hardest questions common people face with wisdom and humor, unraveling the absence and presence of the people who define us and taking a true measure of life. Furnishing Eternity
is the story of a year brought down by loss, a family finding hope in its roots, and the unexpected epiphanies to be found in the things we build. Heartfelt, unvarnished, and piercing with insight, this powerful memoir is Giffels' most intimate exploration of the values and traditions that illuminate the Midwest.