This is post #199. In a couple of days, I’ll give you my final and 200th post. Between now and then, I invite you to order and read this book. 🙂
On Loss & Living Onward came to be over months of unprecedented searching and researching. By “searching,” I mean grieving, which, after the initial implosion of traumatic loss, is intense, prolonged yearning.
Yes, I was searching. Not for release from grief or its pain, but specifically for Parker, for God, for community, for truth, for understanding, for strength, for light. Sometimes, for air.
And I was researching. From the introduction to On Loss:
“…Every morning when the children left for school and Randall left for the office or for the airport, I turned to my daily pattern of digging and searching amid piles of books spread about me in a circular mountain range. I sat cross-legged on the floor with sometimes twenty books open at once: Testaments, both Old and New and other scriptures of my faith; a poetry anthology; a modern French novel; a German lyric; a prophet’s or pioneer’s personal journal; a Norwegian memoir; a commentary on the book of Job; a stack of professional journals on parental grief; collected talks from great spiritual leaders past and present and from the East to the West; discourses from Plutarch and Plato; my Riverside Shakespeare; accounts of Holocaust survivors, 9/11 survivors, tsunami survivors; and Parker’s own words, which we have treasured in his journals, poetry, school essays, letters, and lyrics.
Oh. And my laptop.
For hours to months on end, I went spelunking through others’ words. When someone’s words hit the bedrock of the Spirit, I knew it in half a breath. There were revelatory moments when a correct insight stunned me to immediate tears or, more often, head-to-toe stillness. At times my heart would leap a hurdle or my eyes would stretch wide open; other times I would hold my breath or exhale audibly in gratitude. Whatever my physical and intellectual response, every time a writer got it, I’d quickly type those words into my files.
Unswerving, I kept at it—mining, sifting, cataloging; grieving, mourning, learning, writing; adapting. While I never found the one book that for me addressed the desperate underside of grief as well as the magnificent promise of the loving bond that endures and evolves despite physical separation, I was (to my surprise) on my way to writing one.
And today—almost seven years after Parker was taken in an early harvest that plowed our souls right open—I finished this book. I lovingly pass it on to you.”