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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.

Grief and Her Three Sisters 

Jerry Lovelady’s Grief and Her Three Sisters is an exquisite collection of poetry that touches upon themes of grief, regret, death and love. These poems convey the experiences of the author along with the lessons he has learned. Lovelady’s poems are nature-infused and colored with wisdom, pride, and acceptance. The central idea of these thought-provoking poems are to help those who have regrets come to terms with it and heal from it.

Lovelady’s writing is beautiful and heart-wrenching at times. The reader can clearly imagine the scenarios the author lays out for us, making the reader feel like they are transported to a different place and time. There are many poems that make the reader reflect on the past, whether good or bad, but the author always ends a poem with a sense of calm and acceptance.

This emotive and flowing poetry eases some of the heartaches in a world that seem quite short of love right now. Lovelady’s poetry takes an insightful and almost mystic approach to poetic expression. His poems tend to pry apart the wrappings of his internal emotional conflicts, displaying what he finds there in a spiritual context that directs the reader toward the redemption of the human spirit more than toward a stark, surreal escapism.

The author has transformed his personal journey into one so many readers would be able relate to. I recommend these poems to anyone who is struggling with grief, and to anyone who has overcome the hurdles it presents in life. Grief and Her Three Sisters is a beautiful and emotional collection of poetry. This book will help heal a grief-stricken heart and assures the reader that they are not alone.

Pages: 126 | ASIN: B0BLZRQZPL

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My Personal Struggles With Grief

Author Interview
Carolyn Begley Daley Author Interview

Grief: the Beacon of Love is a collection of 12 notes which provide insight into how to cope with the loss of a loved one. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It was important to me to share my personal struggles with grief and the consequent health problems that I experienced. I thought these experiences would be of great benefit to all those who struggle with an undefined grief. The deaths from the pandemic underlined the need for defined coping skills in dealing with overwhelming world-wide grief.

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

If we do not forgive others, we will not be forgiven. Matthew 6:15. God is love. I John 4:7-12

What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?

Grief The Beacon of Love Know God’s perspective on grief. He loves you through your joys and your sorrows. Accept Him as your Lord and your Saviour.

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

Grief will just go away if not discussed and processed.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads

Grief has been my teacher for many years of its sorrows and joys, expounding on the way of love which leads us to the cross and God’s great love for us. I wonder what it is all about-this grief-these tears? If grief is my teacher, what do I need to learn? Grief is a journey of love that each of us has to walk alone. My tears drip, they drop, they flow and they contain my healing as I walk along my pilgrimage of grief that leads me to the joy of the love of God.


Grief

Grief: The Beacon of Love is a collection of 12 notes which provide insight into how to cope with the loss of a loved one. The text relies heavily on personal experiences but strives to be universal. The author, Carolyn Begley Daley, mentions medical solutions such as seeking a therapist’s help or taking medication are valid and sometimes needed. That said, this inspirational book focus on the use of faith and religion in order to deal with grief.

The last few notes focus on the grieving process many felt during the COVID-19 pandemic and how much it has changed people’s coping mechanisms. The author believes love is the answer to finding a path through all kinds of grief. As long as one loves God and the little things in life, one can push through anything.

Grief contains some beautiful ideas and will have the reader highlighting or underlining many sentences that will accompany them in their journey. I believe even a reader who is not grieving could learn from this book. The two main takeaways are that community is essential to people’s healing and that ignoring one’s feelings will eventually lead to anxiety and depression.

The 12 notes that his book revolves around are centered around Christian beliefs. Even if it appears as though the book is meant to be universal, all the notes’ conclusions refer back to scriptures and one’s relationship with God and Jesus. Additionally, many of the arguments are repeated throughout the whole book. I felt that it could be more concise and still give out the message it wanted to give.

Grief: The Beacon of Love by Carolyn Begley Daley is an inspirational self-help book that focuses on the reader’s relationship with God and Jesus. This relationship is the foundation for overcoming grief. It is an excellent book for someone who needs to understand that they are not the only ones going through this pain or looking for what steps to take in order to go forward.

Pages: 78 | ASIN : B0B7M47WXZ

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How We Fill Those Vast Empty Spaces

Brett Shapiro Author Interview

Late in the Day follows three people who find solace and companionship in one another’s company and together forge a path ahead. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration was a slow-growth idea that incubated during my longstanding habit of dining out alone in hushed, dimly lit restaurants. I enjoy observing couples at other tables, especially couples who have clearly been together for a long time. I can feel their history at work in their gestures and in the snippets of conversation that I overhear, and it gives me enormous pleasure. At the same time, I wonder how deep the grief and sense of upheaval would be when such couples are separated—by betrayal, by death, or by a slow, gray dissolve. How does one learn to be alone? Is it possible to create another rich history with someone new? Is there enough time and energy? These considerations pressed on me as I grew older, and I wanted to write a story about how such circumstances could play out, how solitude and loneliness take on a different hue as we grow older. And then there is the flip side of loneliness: attachment. How we lose or give up (voluntarily or involuntarily) the people and the objects that gave us a sense of home for so many years, and how we fill those vast and empty spaces.

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

First of all, let me say how pleased I am that you found my characters to be compelling and well developed, especially since they couldn’t be more different from one another. My driving ideal was a difficult one: to let my characters have some say over who they are. We fiction writers like to think that we have total control over our novels, and in trying to exert that control we often do our characters a great disservice. We can easily flatten them—even suffocate them—with our own desires and needs, rather than letting them show us how they need to evolve. Like any relationship, the relationship between an author and a character is a give-and-take enterprise. As a writer, I need to give space for each character to chart a course. When my characters surprise me with an action or reaction that I hadn’t planned for in the novel, I know I’m on the right path. Another driving ideal for me is to focus on the small things: Will this character say “Yes” or “Yeah”? Will she brush a wisp of hair away from her face or let it hang there? Will he stroke his beard or let his hand rest quietly on the table? Will they walk hand in hand or simply let their arms brush up against each other from time to time? For me, the accrual of such details creates the real and lived-in character.

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

I was most interested in exploring the possibility of connection, companionship and renewal at a stage in life when we realize that we don’t have all the time in the world to make our life work out the way we assumed it would. As I was putting the final touches on the book, I happened to read an article by Jennifer Senior in The Atlantic. One paragraph struck me in particular. She wrote, “Of course, all deep friendships generate something outside of themselves, some special and totally other third thing. Whether that thing can be sustained over time becomes the question. The more hours you’ve put into this chaotic business of living, the more you crave a quieter, more nurturing third thing, I think. This needn’t mean dull…There’s loads of open country between enervation and intoxicating. It’s just a matter of identifying where to pitch the tent. Finding that just-right patch of ground, you might even say, is half the trick to growing old.” After I read that paragraph, I felt as if she had been looking over my shoulder the entire time that I’d been working on the novel to see if my three characters—strangers to each other and with little in common except their advanced years and their measured solitude—could find that place to pitch their tent, quietly and together.

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

I am finishing up a solid first draft of another novel. This one is shorter—about 200 pages—and is quite different from my other two novels. The main differences are that it is written in the first person, and the time span of the novel covers about 60 years. My other novels were much longer, were written in the third person, and covered very short time periods. I’m not ready to disclose what the novel is about, but I will say that I believe it’s my best work to date. And my cohort of trustworthy beta readers feel the same way. I’m very excited about it and hope to have it finished and ready for publication in about a year. But who knows? Maybe one of the characters will surprise me with an unexpected path and it will take longer!

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

How to go gently into that good night? Is there a fifth season?

In their advanced years, Honey, Hank and Seth didn’t expect to find themselves unattached through divorce, separation and death. They have little else in common except their morning ritual of taking a solitary walk along the same stretch of Florida coastline to behold the sun breaking through the horizon line with equilibrium and serenity, day after day. Each morning draws them closer until they relinquish their solitude and seek one another out. At first, silence is broken by polite conversation, stillness by small gestures. The bond between them slowly sets roots that are deep enough to guide them toward a bold decision that both embraces and defies their solitary condition and their advanced years.

Late in the Day is a lucid and sober meditation on the possibility of connection, companionship and renewal in three lives that have narrowed with time. With a keen eye for detail, Shapiro chips away at the crust of aging. Something more complex and delicate emerges with a realism that is simultaneously stark, poetic and deeply felt as Honey, Hank and Seth chart a future that is neither straightforward in their hope nor liberated from their pain.

Late In the Day

We all sit and think about the future and what’s to come. What should we expect when a tragedy befalls us? Such as losing a loved one. We shake at the mere thought of it. Brett Shapiro’s thought-provoking book, Late in The Day, explores this emotional strife in a thoughtful and candid way that makes the idea approachable.

This enlightening book follows three individuals in three different settings; all wandering in a very similar path in life however. Honey, Hank, and Seth find themselves feeling this sense of detachment in life due to troubled personal circumstances with their spouses, or late spouses. Hank’s wife, Marilyn, died five years ago. His children live afar, leaving him on his own for most of the time except for on special occasions. Seth is left with Winston, his dog, following his divorce with his husband, Yoni. Honey lives with her husband, but not really. Having minimum interactions as they see each other in passing, to sleeping in different rooms to his sudden death. All three are fighting their own battles, but on similar grounds; isolation on Florida’s coastline.

Readers follow the three as they encounter each other due to their similar ritual of a solitary walk on the beach at five in the morning. Their friendship develops further with every step and every walk. Through this friendship the three find the companionship they’ve subconsciously been longing for and find solace in each other.

Late in the Day explores the harsh realities of life and conveys interesting ideas through a unique and uncensored perspective. This heartfelt story also gives a sense of hope to readers and teaches a valuable lesson. Companionship doesn’t just come from a romantic relationship; it could also come from friendship. And no matter what stage in life you are, it’s never too late to make friends!

One of my favorite sayings from the book is an exchange between Hank and Honey, where Hank says, “Nothing belongs to us. We don’t possess anything.” To which Honey responds, “but there are certain things that we cling to anyway, as if our life depended on it. For me, it’s this place. If this place has to change, I want to have a say.” This is a profound exchange that reflects the contemplative feel of the whole book.

Pages: 358 | ASIN: 1639885331

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Pearl, Our Butterfly

Pearl, Our Butterfly by Tuula Pere navigates the very difficult subject of loss of life with a beautifully written book that handles a tragic yet memorable journey that is the life of Pearl. Pearl is Jacob’s younger sister, and since her birth, she has encountered many challenges and requires ongoing care due to a disability and many medical issues. Pearl’s big brother, who has experienced several milestones, including recently starting school, has just adjusted to becoming a sibling and must now learn how to grieve the loss of his sister.

From the moment Jacob and Pearl meet, he becomes her biggest fan and supporter. Jacob worries that she will never come home when his small sister is moved into a hospice facility. It is during this process that Jacob and his parents must face the tragedy of loss, which is a traumatic event for anyone. I admire how the author handles a complicated but important topic with such grace and support, which helps children articulate their feelings and understand how grieving is a natural part of the loss.

Pere highlights the importance of communication and support, a crucial part of healing after losing someone. The author cleverly shows how a whirlwind of emotions and pain is to be expected and how it is possible to achieve a sense of peace and acceptance in time. Jacob’s character showcases many real emotions which mirror what many people experience after the death of a loved one. The author brilliantly illustrates death through the transformation of a butterfly coming out of a chrysalis. Like Pearl, the butterfly is no longer confined to a cocoon and is finally released to be free. Pearl, Our Butterfly is a helpful book for children dealing with loss and shows them that it is possible to see the light through the darkness.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B07NKSLM6N

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Lacie’s Moon

Lacie has recently lost two people in her family that she loved dearly. One night, while struggling to cope with the loss, her mother tells her a story about the girl who rides the moon. As Lacie drifts off to sleep she embarks on a fantastic adventure where she meets the moon and learns about love and loss. But is it just a dream? Or did it all really happen?

Author Natcole Staskiewicz has created a heartfelt children’s book that will help children understand love, grief and deal with loss. This exquisite kids book is like a fairy tale. The reader and Lacie are not sure if it actually happened until the wonderful twist at the end. This is an imaginative picture book that explores loss and love in a unique way that will be easy for young kids to understand.

Every other page is illustrated with sharp kawaii pop art. These vivid images bring a vibrant quality to the whole book and ensures that, even though the subject matter may be a little sad, the book feels lively. The art was my favorite part of the book. This could easily be a comic series. I would love to see Lacie go on many more adventures.

Lacie’s Moon is a beautiful children’s book that will be perfect for elementary school kids that are starting to read on their own. It would also be great for parents to read to smaller children at bedtime as the brilliant illustrations will surely keep their attention while adults read the story to them. This is an educational story about a tough subject but author Natcole Staskiewicz handles it with grace.

Pages: 59 | ASIN: B0B3NB4P15

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