None of us can avoid the reality of grief. At some point in life, we lose someone who is dear to us, and we wonder how we will go on. For some, the grief is brief, or so it seems on the outside. For others, the grief is deep and long-lasting.
If you haven’t lost a loved one yet, you probably know someone who has. What did you say? What did you do? Did you wonder if you were saying and doing the right things? This week, I finished reading a book that helped my perspective on grief. Best selling author Cecil Murphey has teamed up with Liz Allison have written a book titled “Words of Comfort for Times of Loss,” a message to all who are affected by grief. I’m delighted to have received a complimentary copy of the book for promotional purposes. The authors of this book know grief. They know loss. They know the healing process. In writing “Words of Comfort for Times of Loss,” it’s clear that the authors understand the needs of a grieving person. How is this clear? They’ve put together a book that’s small and short with short chapters and peaceful pictures.
A grieving person doesn’t have time or energy to wade through a thick volume of the psychoanalysis of grief. Instead, the authors have constructed a useful tool for both the grieving and those who want to know how to help. The pocket size makes it perfect for giving as a gift, and it would be such a blessing to receive it in place of a sympathy card. There is a place inside the front cover to inscribe who it is to and from for gift giving. The best part of this book is that it comes from the heart. The stories are real and emotions are genuine. It addresses the feelings that society doesn’t allow the grieving to talk about and it allows the grieving person a voice for that which he or she cannot put into words. It’s well-written and touching.
Table of Contents
You’re Not Alone
One Simple Thing
Make It Go Away
Why Did You Leave Me?
If Only I Had
What’s Wrong With Self-pity?
Am I Crazy?
Facing Those Special Days
I have permission to share the following letters from Cec and Liz with you, I hope you are touched by their stories.
Why We Write About Loss
On the morning of July 12, 1992, my husband, Davey, left home like any other morning—he kissed my forehead and hugged our kids.That afternoon I answered a knock at the door, sensing something wasn’t quite right. When I glimpsed the faces of Davey’s two best friends—they didn’t have to speak—the looks on their faces said it all.
That day, after lunch with his race team, Davey had hopped into his helicopter and taken an unplanned trip to the nearby Talladega Superspeedway to watch a buddy practice. Attempting to land in the infield, he had lost control of his helicopter and crashed. Although paramedics airlifted Davey to a Birmingham hospital, sixteen hours later he was pronounced dead.
Immediately following Davey’s death, I had to work through my grief enough to plan his funeral and make hundreds of small-but-significant decisions, all while maintaining the time and energy to care for our two young children, ages one and three. Well-wishing friends hovered around me and frequently asked, “What can I do for you?
Most of the time, I could only respond with a blank stare. Looking back, my friends could have done many things for me, but they didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t know what to tell them.
I hope the insights I have gained during the aftermath of Davey’s death will help you as you struggle with your own grief.
Two weeks after my father suffered a mini-stroke, a massive stroke took his life. On the day of his funeral, my older brother, Ray, died of cancer. Over the next eighteen months, I lost two brothers-in-law and my mother.
On the Sunday after Dad’s and Ray’s funerals, a parishioner rushed up to me, hugged me, and said, “Pastor, I heard about the deaths. Were they saved?”
I honestly don’t remember what I answered, but I wanted to shout, “Does it matter right now? I hurt. I’m so filled with pain that I’m not sure I can handle the worship service today!”
In 2007, our house burned down. Our son-in-law, Alan, died in the fire. The next day, a neighbor pulled up in front of our burned house, got out of his car, and started to look around. “Where did he die?” he asked.
Through the years, I’ve met many like those two people. Maybe they didn’t know what to say. Perhaps they were so focused on what they cared about that they were unaware of my pain. Instead of helping me, those comments made me feel even worse. What I needed was compassion. I didn’t get that from either of them, but I can offer it to you.
That’s why we’ve written this book.
Grand Prize Drawing
Post comments below this blog entry about your own grief process, about your loss, or about your thoughts on this book and have your name entered into my April 9th semi-final drawing to send one name to the final drawing from the publicist. Or comment on the entry titled “Practical Tips to Comfort and Encourage Those Who Grieve” to have your name entered.
Grand Prize Giveaway includes:
Words of Comfort for Times of Loss
Heaven Is Real
Gift Edition, 90 Minutes in Heaven
Dove silky smooth milk chocolate
Dove silky smooth dark chocolate
Ultra-plush spa socks
Large gel eye mask
This special grand prize giveaway is designed especially for someone going through a difficult time. The winner can keep or pass along to someone who could use the pick-me-up.
About the Authors:
Liz Allison was married to NASCAR driver Davey Allison until his tragic death in 1993. Widowed at 28 with two young children to raise, Liz faced the long journey of pain, loss, and grief with great faith. Committed to encouraging others, she returned to her work in TV reporting, has published eight books, and hosts a weekly radio show. Please visit www.lizallison.com
Cecil Murphey is an international speaker and bestselling author who has written more than 100 books, including New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper). No stranger himself to loss and grief, Cecil has served as a pastor and hospital chaplain for many years, and through his ministry and books he has brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world.