Life Between Falls is a personal account of my life during three pivotal autumn events: the death of my son Justin in September 1993 at age 16, my father's death the following September, and the death of my grandmother one year later on the anniversary of my son's death. During that period my advertising business also went bankrupt and I lost my home to foreclosure.
The book is a travelogue through the rockiest territory of my heart, but it’s also a kind of resurrection story. Time and again my grieving process was mitigated by little miracles, messages and moments of pure transcendence.
A big part of my healing process was writing. Although I had not thought of myself as a writer before, writing somehow helped me get through my darkest moments, and so I kept a journal. While the book is largely based on that journal, it also offers the reader some practical tips for moving through the grieving process without getting stuck in it, based on my own experiences.
By the time the third “fall" arrived, I had become a professional freelance writer and a passionate community activist. All the trappings of my old life had fallen away and a meaningful new life was unfolding for me.
Losing a child is a wound that never fully heals, but I can honestly say that my life today is richer, fuller and more joyful than ever. I am a newlywed, a doting grandparent, a freelance journalist, an environmentalist, and a shamanic healer and teacher. Justin continues to be my partner and my patron saint throughout this amazing journey of the spirit.
From Life Between Falls:
“Grieving is a step-by-step journey. Some stretches of the road are rougher than others. But every step is important. Every step has its gifts.”
“I came to understand how people could become homeless and give up on life, how they could end up eating out of trashcans. I felt it could actually happen to me.”
“I couldn’t make small talk, I couldn’t do meetings, I couldn’t pretend to be interested in matters that seemed trivial to me—and everything seemed trivial compared to missing Justin.”
“They looked at me with worried faces, wondering when I would snap out of it and move on with my life. But no matter how much they cared, I still felt utterly alone in this place I was stuck in, and I couldn’t seem to find my way out.”
“It really isn’t possible to compare one person’s pain with another’s—every broken heart is unique in its own brokenness.”
“Among all the poignant, painful and bittersweet memories of that spring, I can honestly say there were moments of real bliss. Sometimes it seemed the deeper I descended into grief, the greater was my capacity for transcendence.”
A Travelogue through Grief & the Unexpected