As I sit here writing this post, I’m reminded that a year ago today, I was participating in a walk for ALS for my childhood friend, Kevin. It was a glorious fall day, full of the color with the leaves changing. The backdrop was the picturesque, Chicago city skyline. Kevin’s team, of well over a hundred, including family, friends and colleagues, joined countless other teams to raise awareness and show support for this debilitating disease. Exactly one year later, he is no longer here with us. He passed away a month ago and now, I officially know more people that have died from ALS than any other disease. Any diagnosis of any illness is devastating to hear. I have several friends that have been fighting the battle of breast cancer. The impact and reach, to all loved ones, is enormous. I recognize with each passing year, the fear and discomfort of hearing this type of news, within my inner circle, is something I will be forced to deal with but how do you prepare?
All of us have experienced grief in some capacity, whether it be the physical loss of a loved one or the loss of something, like a marriage or relationship. I lost my best friend in a car accident at the ripe age of twenty-three and it shaped my life in ways I never imagined. This year will mark the twenty-fifth year of his passing. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I know the exact moment the call came in, where I was, what I was wearing and the overwhelming sense of loss. Indescribable. I finally channeled my grief into a trilogy titled The BeyondSeries. I never dreamed my life would lead me to becoming a writer but it’s been the one and only remedy to dealing with this pain. It’s been cathartic, healing and refilled the void in my heart, by allowing me to share him with the rest of the world. Trust me, he was worth knowing.
There is no answer. Experiencing grief is unavoidable for all of us. We require emotional tools that enable us to support our loved ones when they are faced with gut-wrenching news. I choose to believe our deceased loved ones are always with us, guiding us. They send us signs and symbols letting us know they are here. You just need to be open to receiving them. That is what this book series is about – faith, hope and love and to provide an escape into a world that all of us can relate to. The ups and downs of life and that glimmer of light that keeps us going.
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