My dear friend AnnMarie from Tidbits From The Queen Of Chaos asked me to read and review “Sunshine After The Storm. A Survival Guide For The Grieving Mother.” This book is a beautiful and heartbreaking compilation of essays written by parents who have lost a child. I was deeply honored to take on what I believe was an incredibly enormous challenge. I knew this book would be difficult to read. I knew that I would be opening my heart to grief and so many stories of loss, that I wasn’t sure I would be able to bear the weight of it all. I had heard about so many beautiful contributors that have suffered the loss of a child, and knew many personally. I took a deep breath, and started the book, prepared to soak in the sadness and embrace each mother’s story with the prayerful compassion she deserved.
I did just that. But I wasn’t anticipating how the book would read with HOPE threaded throughout the pages. I wasn’t prepared to take in the beauty of so many hearts, reaching out and offering encouragement from the very souls that have suffered. I didn’t plan on feeling an immense community and connection pouring out from the pages.
Most of all, I kept thinking to myself…
Everyone needs to read this.
This book opens up an entirely new world of broken hearts that embrace the reader with an outpouring of grace and giving. Whether you are a grieving mother, or know of someone who has lost a child… this resource is and can be a lifeline for you. I believe it should be at every single OB/GYN office, every grief counseling center, and available at every hospital. I feel so passionate about this, that I want to march over to my doctor’s office and leave her a copy.
I could write pages and pages telling you about each story and how it broke my heart into a thousand tiny pieces-
I could go on and on telling you about the passionate advice each mother and father offers-
I could share the incredible women’s outreach programs many have successfully orchestrated in creating purpose from their pain…
I could tell you how passionate each precious voice was about the possibility of hope…
After the storm.
But most of all, I would like to express my intense gratitude for having the privilege of being allowed in this fellowship of broken hearts. Although I have not experienced such pain, I know many who have. And this book so profoundly echoes support and embraces the reader, as though they were all sitting in one cozy room together- sharing, crying, holding on to each other…tight.
I love that men were also given the opportunity to share their experience as well. That was eye-opening to me, to read about their own suffering and the weight of the pressure to keep strong for their family. I also love that the book offered several insights into these tragedies through many various faiths. I loved the quotes of encouragement, thinking each one could be in a frame. And the tips for survival seem to be a critical component that threads the book together perfectly.
As I read the book, so much penetrated my heart, so many words and moments shared. I have chosen a few that struck me in encapsulating this powerful piece of work. It weaves together a masterpiece of so many monumental life moments, filled with a message of surviving hope. It’s personal. These amazing souls have opened their broken hearts and shared the shattered pieces, for a purpose. The hope that they will help another grief stricken parent heal.
When you are done reading these small but significant snippets, go buy the book. Buy several. Keep them on hand. I pray you won’t have to give them to someone you know and love, but the reality in this world is-
You probably will.
Take it in…
*The following are excerpts from Sunshine After The Storm.*
“-But most of all: I can choose HOPE. I can be HAPPY again. Today I have hope. Today I know that he lived and died for a higher purpose, though the fullness of that has yet to be revealed.” Xoxo, Regina
“Grief isn’t linear. It looks different for each person. There is no timeline. There is no right or wrong way to do this. What works for someone else may not help you. Find what does help and cling to it.” xo, Kelly
“It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to say, ‘I need to talk about this,’ or ‘I can’t talk about this right now.’ It’s okay to be a little selfish and do whatever you need to in order to make it through the day.” AnnMarie G.
“There are two types of people: those who will know what to say and do, and those who don’t. It’s not entirely their fault and has little to do with how close you were before. You’re an unwilling initiate of a private club, and those who are not members don’t understand the rules.” Jennie Goutet
“Inside myself, I realized a small but very real comfort rising up from within me. I was still hurting, yes, but this experience taught me something. It was in slowing down and moving closer to my loss, not further from it, that I began to heal. As one miscarriage turned into two, two turned into three, and three turned into four and then five, I discovered that contrary to popular belief, words could be thrown like sticks and stones, and words could hurt, but at the same time I realized that words could help me heal.” Xoxo, Suzanne
“I wanted people to understand that even if she wasn’t real to them, that even if I never got to hold her in my arms, that even if I never had a single picture of her, and that even if I never could smell her skin and count her toes and feel her warmth against my chest, she was real to me.” xoxo, Kelly D.
Once again, I’d failed at being a nurturing mother; my second baby was dead within me.” Lizzi
“The fear I experienced weighed heavily on me; why had I miscarried? What was wrong with me? I worried that my body may never be capable of sustaining a pregnancy. The lack of insight into what had gone wrong was overwhelming. I wanted answers; there were none. These things happen.”
“Honoring my own authentic beliefs and feelings, giving myself permission to fully grieve over every aspect of my loss, protecting myself from potentially hurtful comments from outsiders, and finding another mother to grieve with were all instrumental in my healing.” Hugs, Stephanie
“You’ll never be the same person again. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing”. Sean Hanish
“A year after my son died, I passed a stream of sunlight coming in through the window; it danced across my face, and fell on my toes. Toes I had painted purple, that lit up in the semi-dark hallway. The warm sun on my face felt like a brush of love from my son, and the purple on my toes let me know that I cared enough to paint them. I was climbing out of this hole, and someday, I’d be okay.” Starr Bryson
First Peter 1:6 from the New Living Translation of the Bible reads, “So be truly glad, there is wonderful joy ahead even if it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.” If you are suffering a new loss, know that this tragedy has come into your life for a reason. You are now faced with a choice. You can succumb to the dark feelings and give up (which at times is a very tempting option), or you can choose to work through the pain and wait to see what blessings lie ahead. Love, Christina
Buy this breathtaking and inspiring book of hope HERE.