Every year millions of women face
the loss of a pregnancy and thousands more face the loss of an infant. In
recognition of World Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day on Saturday,
October 15, Grief Diaries is hosting THREE different Amazon Giveaways for the
books listed below.
Simply click on the link to enter.
It's free and no purchase necessary. Win one for yourself, or give it to
someone you know.
Part of the 5-star Grief Diaries
book series, each book shares the journeys of mothers seeking to find hope and
healing in the aftermath, and is a comforting reminder that banding together helps
us all feel less alone. Learn more at www.GriefDiaries.com.
Life can be really tough, and sometimes current world headlines can add to our woes. Is there an antidote to the endless articles about Donald and Hillary, scam artists, world terrorists and economic uncertainty? Is there a way to shift the paradigm of what news should be? Yes!
There IS good news (or at least a good laugh) going on in the world. Today's curated news for those looking for a dose of heartwarming happiness can be found in the 3-minute video below. My favorite clip is the second one, but baby #3's minion laugh is a close second. Enjoy!
Amelia Earhart had a
passion for stamp collecting. Mozart had a passion for card tricks. John
Quincy Adams had a passion for skinny dipping and ancient coins. Not a fan
of stamps, coins, or swimming in the buff, I'm a little bit different: I have a
passion for helping people tell their story. Some might think that's
strange, but it's true: I'm absolutely mesmerized by people's stories.
Sometimes the stories are
too hard for mainstream America . . . unless its part of a fictional movie.
Sometimes the stories are uplifting and full of hope. I believe that every
story is actually a combination of both, for without grief there would be
no need for hope. And heartfelt stories about life's hardships are full of
love. Which is why they touch me so deeply.
about raising awareness.
Diaries: Through the Eyes of a Funeral Director as an example.
What leads a funeral director to choose that line of work? Do they have
some kind of morbid fascination? The answers will surprise you. They did
me. Who knew that funeral directors are caregivers at heart? They have
spouses and kids, and love what they do (and they're gifted writers too!).
I'm excited to help funeral directors share their side of the story (coming
What other titles
are we working on?
So glad you asked! But
before you browse just a few of our 20 titles in progress below, check out
the events coming up in October. Do you have an upcoming event? Tell us
about it so we can help share
Finally, looking for a
good read? Check out the 16
books already published in the Grief Diaries series, true
stories featuring ordinary people surviving extraordinary journeys.
Lynda Cheldelin Fell
OCT. 7 - 8, 2016
HEAL YOUR GRIEF WORKSHOP - Dubuque, Iowa
Featuring: Mitch Carmody, Angela Miller, Mary Potter Kenyon, Cathy Corkery,
Julia Theisen, Steve Potter INFO
OCT. 15, 2016
MISS FOUNDATION MEMORIAL WALK - Bellingham, Washington
Coordinated by Nancy Harvey Vekved INFO
OCT. 18, 2016
5th ANNUAL MEMORIAL SERVICE - Lubbock, Texas
Featuring: Samantha Evans INFO
Titles in Progress
Below are just a few of
the 20 books in progress. Click on any cover below to learn more.
We often think that only grand acts make a difference in the world, but the truth is that a single simple gesture can change someone’s entire day.
Yesterday, our son and I made a quick trip to the store to replenish the home front after a week of traveling. As we exited the freeway, we passed a car that appeared disabled, and a woman was waving her arm out the driver’s window. Cars continued to whiz past, all of them ignoring her distress signal. Well, nothing on our list couldn’t wait. But to get to the woman, we had to get back on the freeway in the opposite direction, take the next exit, and then return to the freeway once again in our original direction. As we drove the two miles in the opposite direction, we now noticed a state patrol who was sitting in the median. He was less than a mile from the distressed driver, yet couldn’t see her. We alerted him, and he followed us to the disabled vehicle.
It turns out that the woman had run out of gas just a mile from the gas station. She and her young son, who was strapped in his car seat in the back, were stranded on a hot September day in a disabled vehicle on the side of the freeway. Out of gas. With no cell phone. We were the only people who stopped.
While aiding a stranger requires a bit of common sense, it didn’t take much effort on our part. Did we perform a grand act destined to improve the world? No. But on one hot September day, our small act of kindness made a world of difference for one mother. And that lifts my heart like nothing else.
Today marks a milestone in my own personal journey: the release of Through the Eyes of an Eating Disorder, the 15th book in the Grief Diaries series. Although this book isn't about loss, it is about grief. Because living with an eating disorder wreaks havoc in our lives, creating a different kind of grief.
Many in my generation remember when the gifted singer Karen Carpenter died in 1983 from complications of anorexia nervosa at age 32. Her death shocked the nation, and brought a little-known eating disorder into the public spotlight. I was seventeen at the time, and I mourned alongside fans around the world. But I had never heard of anorexia nervosa, and couldn’t fathom what would cause a famous singer at the height of her career to starve herself literally to death.
So here is my secret. I live with an eating disorder on the opposite end of the spectrum: binge eating, an illness that caused me to live in secrecy and with great shame for much of my life.
I didn’t realize I had an eating disorder until I was forty years old. My struggles started long before, but like a lot of Americans, I just thought of myself as fat. I was too ashamed to ask for help of any kind. After all, nobody twisted my arm to eat that Big Mac.
Over the years my quest for control found me at the mercy of Slim-Fast, the Beverly Hills Diet, the Scarsdale Diet, Atkins and Jane Fonda. But they never lasted long; food was my heroin, my crack — my fix.
As a fat person, we're subjected to comments such as “You need to lose weight,” or “All that weight isn’t good for you.” Some people believe such remarks can shame us out of our eating disorder. Yet it only serves to inflict emotional harm, and is a criticism that insults our intelligence and appearance in the same sentence. Yes, I know I need to lose weight. Yes, I know all that excess weight isn’t good for me. Do you think I’m not aware of that? Binge eating is a mental disorder affecting my brain, but not my intelligence.
But, as embarrassing as it is, I shared my story in Through the Eyes of an Eating Disorder because I want the world to know this: eating disorders are a powerful, destructive illness that wreak havoc on our health, career, and family. Whether its binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, or all three, its controlling grip forces us to live with hidden behaviors. The secretiveness leads to shame, which leads to more destructive behavior to soothe the shame. It’s a vicious cycle.
But it is conquerable. It takes hard work, honest collaboration with your support team, and determination.
I’ve now been in control of my illness for ten years. I conquered the beast, shed one hundred pounds, and lived to tell my tale. But I’m not cured. Some days the beast is tame and docile. Other days I struggle to keep it confined in its cage. Stress, hormones and lack of sleep are big triggers for me. And so I remain vigilant; for a binge eater, all it takes is one moment of weakness and down the rabbit hole I go.
Eating disorders don’t just manifest one morning like a case of chicken pox. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating are a mental illness saturated in silence and secrecy. It’s not easy to share my journey with the world, but I have, alongside Jane, Deborah, and ten other women.
Taking that brave step to share our stories out in the open will help shed insight into a little understood mental illness, and bring comfort and hope to those who share our struggles. Because if we can conquer the beast within, so can you. XOXO
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a doctor. A brain surgeon to be exact. But life has a way of throwing us curve balls that force us down a different path. Sometimes those paths are most welcome, like mothering four wonderful children. My least favorite path? Losing a child. That path is a long and torturous one, and took me straight through the belly of hell.
My story began one night in 2007, when I had a vivid dream. I was the front seat passenger in a car and my daughter Aly was sitting behind the driver. Suddenly, the car missed a curve in the road and sailed into a lake. The driver and I escaped the sinking car, but Aly did not. My beloved daughter was gone. The only evidence left behind was a book floating on the water where she disappeared.
Two years later, on August 5, 2009, that horrible nightmare became reality when Aly died as a back seat passenger in a car accident. Returning home from a swim meet, the car carrying Aly and two of her teammates was T-boned by a father coming home from work. My beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter took the brunt of the impact, and died instantly. She was the only fatality.
Life couldn’t get any worse, right? Wrong. Hell wasn’t done with me yet. My dear sweet hubby buried his head (and grief) in the sand. He escaped into 80-hour work weeks, more wine, more food, and less talking. His blood pressure shot up, his cholesterol went off the chart, and the perfect storm arrived on June 4, 2012. In an instant, my husband felt a strange warmth spread inside his head. He began drooling, and couldn’t speak. My 46-years-young soulmate was having a major stroke.
He lived, but couldn’t speak, read, or write, and his right side was paralyzed. He needed assistance just to sit up in bed. He needed full-time care. Still reeling from the loss of our daughter, I found myself again thrust into a fog of grief so thick, I couldn’t see through the storm. Adrenaline and autopilot resumed their familiar place at the helm.
But I needed reassurance that the sun was on the other side of hell. As I fought my way through the storm, I discovered that helping others was a powerful way to heal my own heart. I began reaching out to individuals who were adrift and in need of a life raft. And a warm hug.
In 2013, I formed AlyBlue Media to house my mission. Comforting people who spoke my language, and listening to their stories, my mission took on a life of its own and came in many forms: a radio show, film, webinars, and writing.
Oh, and a national convention. I wanted to bring broken souls together under one roof, regardless of their journey. I had many wonderful speakers, but the one I was most excited about was a woman who had faced seven losses in a few short years: Martin Luther King’s youngest daughter, Dr. Bernice King. I didn’t bring her to the convention to tell us about her famous father. We already knew that story. I wanted to know how she survived.
Over the course of that weekend, I was deeply moved by watching strangers swap stories and become newfound friends. These were stories born from hardship, yet were remarkable on many levels. Touched to the core, I set out to capture them into a book series aptly named Grief Diaries.
Over a hundred people in six countries registered, and the first 8 titles were launched in December 2015. Now home to more than 400 writers spanning the globe, Grief Diaries has 14 titles in print with 16 more due by the end of 2016. Another 20 titles are set to be added in 2017.
At the heart of it all is a beautiful village. I might be the engine, but they are the force that provides the fuel for our little engine that could.
Where am I today?
Once a bereaved mother, always a bereaved mother. My heart is a bit like a broken teacup that has been glued back together. All the pieces are there, but they might not fit as seamlessly as they once did. Some days the glue is strong and unyielding. Other days that glue is wet, and threatens to spring a leak. Nonetheless, that teacup still holds water. Well, mostly coffee. Strong coffee.
Life can sometimes throw a really mean curveball that blindsides even the strongest. It’s important to hold out hope that the sun can be found at the end of the path. But until you find it, it’s comforting to know you aren’t alone. And that is what Grief Diaries all about.
For the record, I have found the sun. Some days I marvel at its beauty. Other days it hides behind clouds. But I now know those days don’t last forever. And my umbrella is much stronger than it used to be.
Helen Keller once said, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” If you too are looking for the sun, visit our village for a hug and stay for the friendship. And share our page with others who need the same. That’s what were here for: to offer you a spot in the life raft until the storm passes, and the sun begins to shine once again.
Some days are harder than others, for all the wrong reasons. One computer isn't working, and the espresso machine broke down. It's times like this when I have to remind myself these are first-world problems. Truly not a big deal, right? Yet, I'm human. I feel impatient with both the computer and the espresso machine.
How do I turn my attitude around? By reflecting on gratitude. There is no shortage of places in my life where I feel gratitude, so for today's attitude adjustment I'll express gratitude for the writers of Grief Diaries: Living with a Brain Injury.
As we prepare a book for publication, I'm all in . . . my heart and soul, and every waking moment is spent seeing the incredible true stories come to fruition. Brenda and Carol who were both diagnosed with meningioma brain tumors, are sharing their journeys in the book. And then there is Stephanie who, at age 14, woke up from a 2-month coma only to find herself unable to walk. She now runs marathons. There is Amy, Lauren, Nancy, Matt, Jordan, PJ, Sue, Jewel, and Wendy who all suffered life-changing traumatic brain injuries. And then there is Carol, LiAne and Steve who walk a journey I know all too well: life after stroke.
With all these writers sharing their heartfelt stories, I can't help but marvel at their resiliency. And suddenly my gratitude tank fills to the brim. Instant attitude adjustment - from impatience at an espresso machine to feeling grateful for all I have.
No matter whether we face first-world or third-world problems, our impatience and irritation are natural reactions. But it's not hard to bring them back into perspective.
It's been said that a grateful heart is a happy heart. I believe this to be true. So next time I'm struggling with an attitude adjustment, looking beyond the edge of my own world into someone else's journey, and admiring them for being so brave, is a quick fix and - for me - works every time. XOXO