In January, 1997 my world as I knew it came crashing down around me. My 21-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic, where she had gone to serve as a missionary. This journey of survival took me through some very dark and scary valleys, over some gigantic mountains, and finally through some calm and soothing meadows. I cried many tears, felt excruciating heartache, anger, fearfulness, and appreciation, and yes, gratitude. I worked hard at learning to live with my loss, and discovered it is possible to survive and go on living a reasonably meaningful life. I learned it can be difficult to find original information on first-hand experiences of grieving individuals. I am writing my memoir Still Living Still Loving After a Child Dies– to fill that void.
In my memoir, I want to share the lessons learned and insights I gleaned from nearly 20 years on this journey. I want to provide hope, inspiration and support to grieving parents through the rough terrain of loss and devastation to a sense of peace in a future without their child. My picture of how grief softens over the years should instill confidence in parents that they can survive. Finally, I present coping strategies for getting through the difficult times and resources for dealing with grief.
I have been a member of NAMW for three years, and completed theWYMI6M course in December, 2015. I enjoy participating in the monthly coaching calls and became a writing buddy to Lynette from Richland, Washington who once lived in my community in Vienna, Virginia. I didn’t know it at the time, but her kids attended the same school that our kids attended. We now support each other in our memoir writing efforts. NAMW provides numerous and valuable memoir writing resources as well as mentoring and networking opportunities.
Congratulations on being Member of the Month! I’ve been forgetting to check the boards so I missed your post until now.
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter in the Dominican Republic. Your book sounds as if it will be a soothing balm for anyone who has lost a loved one, especially a grown child.
Thanks for taking the time to write it. I’ll be a reader! All the best to you and yours,
Thank you, Sue. I hope we will all get to read it soon. It is a slow process. CCR
Coralease! I love when my worlds collide! Coralease and I meet annually at The Compassionate Friends conferences around the country. I first met her in Chicago when I served on her panel for Writing Your Story and last month spent an hour taking breathing lessons with her in Arizona! So happy you are here, Coralease! Write on!
Kelly, good to see you again. It is a small world after all. CCR
Congratulations Coralease! I have been with you on this journey since 2006 when we met at a Memoir Writing Club in Florida. You are an inspiration to me as I continue my own journey.
Hi Bev, Good to see you again. Yes, we do go back in time. CCR
It has been an eye-opening journey for me to be writing my memoir with Coralease as my writing buddy and friend. After months of phone chats, we finally met in Scottsdale, AZ at The Compassionate Friends conference. What a joy! Having loss my sister at an early age, Coralease helped me understand my role as a surviving sibling, as well as a “forgotten mourner”. When my sister died in 1958 at the age of 2, it seems, as least to me as a then 6-year old, that her existence was “forgotten” by my family. All things Beverly, my sister, disappeared. There was even a “replacement” child, born less than nine months after her death. Coralease has helped me bring these difficult memories to the surface so that I could honor my sister’s existence and heal from the trauma. Congratulations Dr. Ruff on being “Member of the Month”!
Lynette, It was good to finally meet you in person. You are giving me a lot of credit there. Not sure I deserve it. Thanks anyway. CCR