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Everyone’s Grief Journey is Unique

Zander Sprague Author Interview

Why Don’t They Cry navigates the tumultuous waters of grief and offers guidance to parents who have lost a child in their journey toward healing. Why was this an important book for you to write?

For over a decade, I have been approached by parents who have lost a child and have other living children. They would ask me why they were not seeing their children grieve. I wrote this book so parents could have a better understanding of what their children are going through. To give insights into some of the possible changes going on in the family. This book was important for me to write because I want to help parents gain an understanding of the sibling survivor experience and hopefully be able to help their children. 

What is a common misconception you feel people have about grief?

That grief is somehow a time-limited process. The truth is everyone’s grief journey is unique. Also, I will NEVER get over the loss of my sister, but I am working y way through her loss every day. Some days are better than others.  This is true for most people, they are working their way through their loss. 

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

Giving insight into the sibling survivor ™ experience. Talking about the new family dynamics and hopefully helping parents to recognize their new expectations of their living children. Most importantly I wanted to shed some light on why we don’t cry in front of our parents. 

What message would you like parents to take away from your book and your journey?

I hope that parents take away a better understanding of what the sibling survivor experience is like and find ways to support and acknowledge the loss of their children’s brother or sister. I also hope that I have provided useful tips that help open up communication within the family.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Zander Sprague was devasted when his sister Lucy was murdered. But he did not want to further burden his parents in their time of profound grief. Many families are at a loss at how to connect when they need each other most. Later, many parents asked Zander, “Why don’t they cry?” which prompted this book for parents and sibling survivors. This book will guide you through the troubling waters when you are facing your own grief and the grief of your loved ones.

Why Don’t They Cry?

Why Don’t They Cry?: Understanding Your Living Child’s Grief by Zander Sprague (LPCC) is a book dedicated to parents who have lost a child, especially during childhood or early adulthood. Zander begins the book by piquing the readers’ interest with thought-provoking and interesting ideas about siblings. The relationships we have with them are often the longest-lasting relationships in life, but what happens if we lose a sibling at a young age?

Zander lost his older sister early in life and later dedicated his life to becoming a counselor helping people who have lost siblings. These individuals are often referred to as sibling survivors but are often the forgotten mourners years later while their grief continues to impact their lives. The survivors’ grief is often overshadowed by the anguish of their parents’ experience of losing a child. Siblings became the secondary mourners by default, which can bring about unique challenges, including how parents communicate with their surviving children, the healing process, and the side effects of loss, including divorce, marital stress, and family difficulties.

The book is written in a professional but compassionate tone. However, that does not take away from the emotions and stories shared in a beautiful, sensitive manner. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of love, sadness, grief, and reflection. I was impressed with the style of this book and how the author created a helpful guide for sibling survivors and recognized their pain, which is touching and important. It only took a few pages before I felt the full emotional impact of the book and the power of sibling bonds explained so well. I was deeply moved and left thinking about the process of grief and the complex journey of loss.

Why Don’t They Cry?: Understanding Your Living Child’s Grief by Zander Sprague (LPCC) is an excellent read for parents grieving the loss of a child. It’s a great book I recommend to professional child caregivers, counselors, psychologists, and teachers. It’s an essential read for anyone looking to support children or young adults through this harrowing loss. I can’t recommend this book enough!

ASIN B0BSC6B72C | Pages: 80

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Corpse Beneath The Crocus

Corpse Beneath The Crocus by N.N. Nelson is a collection of poetry written about everyday moments of life, portraying what it means to be human. This provocative book beautifully depicts feelings of rage, loneliness, and anxiety while at the same time illustrating quiet mornings, the depths of love, and the power of silence. In writing about a wide variety of things, N.N. Nelson paints beautiful pictures with words and sheds light on moments and feelings, so many people are afraid to speak aloud.  

This emotional collection contains raw and vulnerable narratives of happiness, heartbreak, anger, wonder, curiosity, lament, and regret. Numerous times, N.N. Nelson depicts being present in the present– recounting details of intimacy and transparency.   Corpse Beneath The Crocus is a fantastic book for people looking to get in touch with their inner selves and process their deepest emotions. This collection of poetry will cause the reader to dive into memories and experiences of their own life while relating to the stories and narratives of N.N. Nelson. By going deep into their innermost thoughts and feelings, the author gives the reader a glimpse into moments and memories the readers themselves may have also experienced in a lifetime. 

Corpse Beneath The Crocus will captivate anyone who is a deep thinker, empath, or introvert. I believe this book would be a great resource for people going through difficult times to find someone to sympathize with and relate to. Readers will find this is a great addition to their poetry collection and depicts moments of everyday life with simplicity, imagery, and poise. I would highly recommend this book to everyone. Genuine and eloquently written, this book will be a joy to whoever picks it up off the shelf. 

Pages: 122 | ISBN : 1639887385

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The Decision to Kill

When a crime is committed, numerous questions are asked. But if that crime rips apart the very core of a family, the only question to ask is why? When everything about who you are and who you love is torn apart, what have you got left to stand for? And would you overcome all the pain and sorrow to see justice prevail? Would you fight for your family? Is blood thicker than water? And in the end, could you say that you still love after so long of feeling nothing but hate?

The Decision to Kill: A True Crime Story of a Teenage Killer and the Mother Who Loved Him is brought to us by Leslie Ghiglieri. It is a memoir and true crime book that documents the investigation and murder trial of Dwayne Weir, a 16-year-old boy accused of murdering his father. The author shares all the gruesome details surrounding the case but does so in as respectful a manner as she can. The story is told from the perspective of his mother, Cherie. She talks us through the whole story, their lives, the events leading up to the murder, and what happens after.

The author has included real courtroom accounts and expert testimony on not just the actual murder but the mental state of Dwayne. What I really enjoyed about it was the use of actual letters written by Dwayne. This really gave an insight into his mental state and showed how far he retreated into the dark corners of his mind. But this tale is as much about his mother if anything. Her quest for the truth and her battle to understand is almost too hard to bare. Her struggle to move forward and reconcile her feelings for her son after what he did is heartwrenching. This is a story no mother ever wants to be a part of.

The Decision to Kill is an emotionally charged biography and true crime story. This gripping story will engage readers as they follow the tragedy and follow along as the family searches for the answer to why. A must-read for any fans of true crime.

Pages: 340 | ASIN : B09ZNKF28B

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When Mommy is in Heaven

In, When Mommy is in Heaven by Wendy L. Hackey, we follow a young boy named Micah who has been given an invitation to a Mother’s Day Tea Party at school to honor the mothers and grandmothers of the students. With so much excitement, he tells his grandmother, who agrees to attend with him. He even prays every night that his mommy, who is in Heaven, can come to the party too. Will his mother be at the tea party when the day finally arrives?

This is a book about loss and God’s blessings. For young Micah, he lost his mother at a very young age, and it is extremely difficult for children to grasp the idea behind people passing and not being able to see or talk to them. I think this is a fantastically written children’s book to have these challenging discussions with kids. It is such a sweet story about life and was easy to read and follow the message clearly. The illustrations by Dan Drewes made the content engaging and added charm throughout, even when moments of sadness appeared.

I believe this to be an exceptional book to be added to anyone’s library and would absolutely recommend this to any families dealing with loss. When Mommy is in Heaven is a well-written picture book that will help families talk about death and grief and the blessings that God provides, even when it is not in the way you expect.

Pages: 32 | ISBN : 1504980166

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The Strength To Carry On

Michelle Shine Author Interview

Song for Ria follows a grieving mother who goes in search of answers to her daughter’s passing by following in her footsteps. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I was trying to write something else, something genre oriented. However, I couldn’t seem to stumble upon characters that fully engaged me. Then someone sent me a link to Tori Amos performing a Kate Bush song. I am a huge Kate Bush fan and usually don’t like other artist’s covers of her work but I found the Tori Amos video intriguing and investigated further, as I always do with things that interest me. In one of Tori’s interviews she said how devastated she was, having been a child prodigy and having found herself in her late twenties still performing in hotel lobbies and gay clubs with one failed rock album behind her. She decided, at that point, to continue with her night jobs and write music just for herself. Of course, the result was Little Earthquakes, her top selling debut album, but the idea of writing without any ambition for the work, spoke to me and Alison arrived that day, fully formed in her home in the English countryside, or at least that’s how it seemed to me at the time. In retrospect, she was probably there the whole time, waiting for me to arrive.

Your characters are intriguing and well-developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank you for saying that. To be honest, I’m not a plotter or a planner, I just write and let the characters pull me along on their journey. Having said that, my own life experiences have definitely informed Song for Ria.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I put it out into the ether sometime ago that I would like to write about the life of a superstar who died too young. Those documentaries about Marilyn Monroe, Heath Ledger, Jimi Hendrix, James Dean, Whitney Houston etcetera, have always interested me. Especially Whitney Houston, whose mother, Cissy, was interviewed by Oprah one year after her daughter’s death. I remember wondering at the time how Cissy found the strength to carry on.

In 2009 when my soulmate died suddenly, tragically, and far too young, it gave me some insight into how, along with the devastation, loss has the power to add depth to a person’s perspective on life.. I pulled on my two personal experiences of studying under a North American shaman and staying with the Hopis when exploring that intricate theme in Song for Ria.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m editing an historical novel at present. It’s set in Israel in 1989 and explores the political arena as experienced by a family of first, second and third generation holocaust survivors and a woman named Rahima who lives in Daesh, a Palestinian town in the West Bank.

At present, I don’t have an agent or an ongoing publishing deal.

Author Links: Facebook | GoodReads | Twitter | Website

‘A penetrating view into what it means to grieve, and then to heal … a captivating story’Karen HarradineTalented composer Alison Connaught has spent her career writing music for big names, but when her actress daughter, Ria, dies from an overdose, Alison is numb and can no longer compose.Haunted by the feeling that she has somehow let Ria down, Alison searches for answers, first during an intense stay with a Hopi shaman and then by travelling to Hollywood to try to piece together the many parts of Ria’ s life that have so far eluded her.As she meets her daughter’ s friends, colleagues and therapists, Alison finally begins to understand the realities of Ria’ s life, opening the door to self expression and a different kind of music, inspired by stirred/raw feelings and the spirit of Ria.Michelle Shine’ s skill as a storyteller brings Alison’ s thoughts and actions to life in this visceral and deeply moving tale of grief, regret and ultimately, hope.

Song for Ria 

Ria was an award-winning actress who had everything to live for, so why would she want to give it all up? Alison, who is an award-winning composer, is grieving the loss of her daughter Ria from an ‘accidental suicide’. She’s utterly shocked and heartbroken. She’s grieving and simultaneously trying to save her marriage. She is on a hunt, trying to know more about the last few months of her daughter’s life, hung up on it so much that it is beginning to consume her.

This emotionally-resonant novel follows her grief and her effort to gain some clarity so that she can move on. It is a story that is sharp, observant and completely heart wrenching. This beautiful journey takes readers into the mind of a grieving mother. It exceptionally depicts the confusing emotions of Alison and her husband. I feel that Alison is a character that anyone can relate to, even if they have not faced the unfortunate circumstance of going through what she did. The author’s excellent writing will help anyone connect with the character, if not the situation.

While the story has much depth, the book is written in such an easy to read style that I completed the story within a couple of days. The characters felt authentic and compelling, so much so that I was irked by the lack of complete understanding from her husband’s side, and the sad part is that often for people it’s the reality.

Song for Ria explores a topic as depressing as grief but does so through a beautifully written story so that it will be approachable to many, and understood by all readers.

Pages: 354 | ASIN: B0B99N1GXL

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Comfortable With Our Vulnerability

Lisa Myers Author Interview

When the Light Goes Out is a personal look at how trauma and loss impact people differently based on your personal and professional experiences. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I was passionate about removing the shame and stigma that surrounds mental ill-health. By sharing my story, I was able to challenge the notion that mental health professionals are somehow immune to adversity. Having the knowledge of my profession and years of therapy gave me the necessary tools and insight to navigate my trauma and loss. I knew that not everyone had this privilege and it was important that I share my expertise and experience with others in order to provide help to many people who suffer with mental health disorders, tragedy, trauma and daily challenges. As a psychiatrist, I can assist those people that I see in my consulting room every day but, a book was a way to disseminate my knowledge to a wider audience. It makes me happy to know that more people can be reached and uplifted, as poor mental health causes immense pain to those afflicted and their families too.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

It was hard to write about family members. I needed to be extremely thoughtful about this process and took my time to churn through many conflicting thoughts and emotions, so as not to project my hurt and shame onto others.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

Creating a narrative of our trauma can be very healing. Writing allowed me to process my experience and my pain. It provided the opportunity to self-reflect and to find my peace and acceptance.

Shame can be overcome. I had lived with shame for years, but I was able to let go by allowing myself to be authentic and learning to accept that I was an entire being with both strengths and weaknesses. I did not have to be defined by any of these characteristics and it was important to practice self-kindness and let go of the fear of judgement from other people.

Trauma underlies many diverse mental health presentations. Processing and integrating the trauma is fundamental to creating change and facilitating healing. As mental health professionals, we should always be considering the presence and biological and psychologically consequences of trauma in our clients.

Grief is a forever journey.

It can be torturous to live without answers and each person has to find their personal closure in order to move beyond the loss and grief.

Life is a journey that is not easy, but by accepting the pain we can begin to recognise and appreciate the wonders in the normalcy of our every day.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

There is always hope. No one is perfect and we all have to face struggles of various kinds every day. We can always grow through adversity and we are shaped by both good and bad experiences in our lives. Our greatest strength is to be comfortable with our vulnerability.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

As the expert in mental health, psychiatrist Dr Lisa Myers has always been expected to have the answers to help her traumatised clients. However, her professional knowledge and tools did not fully prepare her for when her life was upended by an act of unimaginable violence, which plunged her into a spiral of grief and trauma-management.
In this deeply intimate narrative, Lisa takes us on an illuminating journey through her own life-changing loss. She reflects on her upbringing, relationships and roles which shaped her ability to cope and come to terms with her tragedy.
This courageous memoir reveals how emotional and psychological suffering show up for everyone in different ways and encourages us to seek help when the light goes out. As an impassioned advocate for mental health, Lisa neutralises the shame and stigma by sharing her personal and professional insights for moving through trauma.
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