A Gift to Ease Your Grief

As COVID-19 cases climb and shadows of worry and anxiety cast doubts, we stew in our numbness. We attempt to process the depth of our grief. It has no bounds.

Here in the United States, we prepare for a thankless Thanksgiving Day 2020 minus more than a quarter of a million Americans–gone, but not forgotten–who sat at tables beside us a year ago. Our hearts ache for them and their families.

Seven years ago grief consumed me as the first Thanksgiving after my mother’s death approached. Tom and I decided we needed a holiday getaway from our then suburban Chicago home. We needed to shake things up. To begin a new tradition in a place that wouldn’t spark the rawness of Midwestern memories.

Both of my sons loved the idea. They decided to join us for an extended Thanksgiving weekend in the Arizona desert. It felt as if the odds were against us when Tom developed pneumonia after raking leaves on a frosty early-November Illinois morning. But, remarkably, he rebounded quickly. We kept our plans to fly west.

On Thanksgiving Day, Kirk, Nick, his friend Stephanie, Tom and I dined outside at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel. We enjoyed turkey and stuffing, seated around a courtyard patio table shaded by an orange tree.

Three months after that November 2013 trip, I retired from corporate life and began to feel a calling to write about my grief. I soon discovered that by honoring and answering my creative impulses, I could ride through the waves of tears and numbness and emerge whole on the other side.

As strange as it sounds, grief became the fertile ground for my writing journey. In 2016, I published my first book, From Fertile Ground. It tells the story of three writers–my grandfather, mother and me–and our desires to leave behind a legacy of our own distinctive observations of our family, our loves, our losses, our worlds.

In honor of Thanksgiving and those we’ve loved and lost, you can download a free Kindle copy of my book on Amazon from November 21 through November 25.

I hope reading it will inspire you (or a friend who is grieving) to find your fertile ground. To discover your voice. To channel your creativity. To emerge from the numbness. To tell your unvarnished story. Perhaps even to leave behind a brief review of my book online.

13 thoughts on “A Gift to Ease Your Grief

  1. Thanksgiving will certainly be different this year. I hope that you and Tom can still find a measure of peace in each other’s presence, and that you can find small things to be thankful for this holiday. All the best to you both!

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  2. Thanksgiving and Christmas be different this year, that’s for sure. Many people find it hard to grief, it makes them feel vulnerable, but there are many ways to cope with it and writing is certainly on of them. Writing all your emotions on paper is very therapeutic even if it triggers big emotions like crying and being extremely upset. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

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    1. I agree, Aiva. Writing certainly is therapeutic. I don’t have to tell you that some of the most creative stories ever written (inspired by pain and loss) were crafted by gifted Irish poets and storytellers.

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  3. What a gift you are offering! Loved this book!
    carol
    On Fri, Nov 20, 2020 at 7:56 PM Mark Johnson Stories wrote:
    > Mark Johnson posted: ” As COVID-19 cases climb and shadows of worry and > anxiety cast doubts, we stew in our numbness. We attempt to process the > depth of our grief. It has no bounds. Here in the United States, we prepare > for a thankless Thanksgiving Day 2020 minus more than ” >

    Like

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