Back in the spring of 2016, Glynis M. Belec and Ruth Smith Meyer were chatting on Glynis’ closed Facebook site, Angel Hope Publishing, created as a space for writers and readers across Canada to daily discuss issues of interest regarding books and publication. Ruth had recently lost her second husband to cancer and was discussing her pain and sorrow with Glynis who had also lost her sister just a year before. Ruth let Glynis know that she had made a conscious choice to focus on the ten wonderful years she had with her husband, rather than bemoan the things she didn’t have any more. Glynis said, “That is such ‘good grief,’ Ruth. You should write a book about your grief and call it Good Grief People.”
Ruth, who already had several publications to her credit said, “I would like to. But I don’t want to do it alone. Would you join with me, Glynis?”
Glynis agreed that she would.
I was also involved in the online discussion, and Glynis, knowing I had lost a husband to cancer and had written a book about our cancer journey, asked if I would be interested in joining them in creating an anthology about grief, comfort, and hope. I already had been journal writing about my own grief process and felt ready to join them in this collaboration.
Glynis, as our publisher, invited a writer friend Carolyn Wilker to join the writing team, not only as one of the contributing authors, but as our editor-in-charge. Carolyn had recently lost a friend and was facing another future loss with her father in hospice care.
Donna Mann, another writer and author friend, had suffered a severe loss of her young child many years before and had gone on to become a minister and grief specialist. Glynis felt she had much to contribute to our book on grief.
A final invitation was passed on to Alan Anderson, a spiritual practitioner in the field of long-term health care. Alan had spent many years listening to residents and others as they spent their last days before death. By listening carefully and gently ministering to them, he felt he learned much from his ‘teachers’ about living and dying well. He accepted Glynis’ invitation to join our writing team.
With all six authors in place, book preparations began. We lived in six different locations across Canada, so most of our work happened online. Using a simple ‘Table of Contents’ mutually created, we began writing stories and poems about five different topics: Facing the Fact, Anticipatory Grief, Unexpected Grief, Good Grief, and Learning Through Loss. Initial revision and editing was done by all six authors as we sent our work off to each other. Final editing was done by Carolyn who then sent the stories and poems off to Glynis for the publication stage.
In March 2017, the book Good Grief People – Easing the sting of death by recognizing and respecting the individuality of grief and the reality of hope, came back from the printers and the five Ontario authors had a jubilant meeting over cups of coffee in a Tim Horton’s Elmira donut shop. Alan was finally able to join them at their official book launch in Fergus on May 6, 2017.
All six authors have faced devastating losses in their lives. The stories and poems written are personal and heart-felt. This is not a ‘how-to’ grieve book. Rather, it is a ‘This was my grief journey. Let me walk with you on yours’ book, written in the hope that it will bring comfort and an awareness of the individuality and uniqueness of each grief journey. Different readers may identify and find a kinship in different stories, whether they be about a loss of a child, spouse, parent, or friend through an accident, sickness, murder or suicide. Above all, we hope our readers know that through facing our grief and working our way through it, true healing can come to pass.
I believe that it will be a valuable book in helping others deal with the blackness of their own grief. If it is too painful for some to read, then I believe that it will be an incredible resource book for those who deal with those who grieve: family members, friends, ministers, counsellors, medical practitioners, hospice workers, funeral staff, social workers, mental health workers and others.
Copies of the book are available through many sources. Check your local bookstores or local retail outlets, or the book can be ordered online at Amazon, or through Angel Hope Publishing Bookstore at http://www.glynisbelec.com/bookstore.html.
The book can also be purchased through the individual authors by messaging them at: Alan Anderson (Mission, B.C.) – firstname.lastname@example.org Glynis M. Belec (Drayton, ON) – www.glynisbelec.com Barbara Heagy (Guelph, ON) – www.barbaraheagy.com Donna Mann (Elora, ON) – www.donnamann.org Ruth Smith Meyer (Aisla Craig, ON) – www.ruthsmithmeyer.com Carolyn Wilker (Kitchener) – www.carolynwilker.ca
You Are Not Alone: stories of hope, by Lisa Browning