Archive for Grief Posts

published in Book Reviews, Change, Death, Grief, Inspiration, Life After Loss by Maryanne | August 7, 2018 | 4 Comments

Note: At the time of writing this blog (Aug 7th, 2018) Yosemite National Park is closed due to the Ferguson wildfire. Thousands of tourists have been evacuated and two firefighters have died. My thoughts & prayers go out to the family, friends and colleagues of the firefighters.

The Healing Power of Nature – Mountains of Light Book Review

 

“I want to simplify my life so that I’m not worn out and frustrated at the end of every workday. I want to move at a pace that helps me notice what is around me and gives me the chance to interact with it.”

– R. Mark Liebenow, Mountains of Light

Looking for a late-summer read?

I recently finished Mark Liebenow’s beautiful book, Mountains of Light; Seasons of Reflection in Yosemite. I have always wanted to visit Yosemite National Park. After reading Mark’s book, now I really want to go!

This non-fiction read is about Mark’s journey of coming to terms with the death of his wife, Evelyn. It is in nature – through repeated visits at different times of the year to Yosemite – where Mark finds peace with his wife’s passing.

This makes sense. In my experience, spending time in nature and/or with animals seem to be able to soothe chaotic thoughts and emotional turmoil like nothing else.

Here are a few snippets from Mountains of Light:

“I feel edgy and certain of my mortality. I came here wanting Yosemite to shake me out of my stupor and help me face death. And it has, but it feels like Yosemite wants to do this by having me listen to its stories.”

“Mark Twain regretted knowing what lay beneath the swells in the water as he learned to guide riverboats down the Mississippi River because he no longer saw its beauty.”

Part of me no longer cares why natural places affect me so deeply, and I’m not really concerned about what does or doesn’t have a soul. If I say that every part of creation reveals something about nature’s reality then I’m challenged to look at everything with respect and find insights…the wild outdoors simply inspire me.” 

Another observation that struck me about Mark’s book was the significant difference between how he chose to share his grief, through his story, and how I shared my experience with grief in my book, A Widow’s Awakening.

I’m not sure whether this is a gender thing or not i.e. do women tend to be more open than men about sharing the details of their emotional journey?

In A Widow’s Awakening, I yank the lid right off Pandora’s Box of Grief and let it ALL out: the devastation, the hurt, the hatred, self-pity, anger, jealousy, bitterness…the confusing thoughts, conflicting emotions and spiritual isolation.

To be honest, I haven’t read that many books about grief, so I found Mark’s candid but subtle journey intriguing. There was definitely a sense of inner struggle as he tried to come to peace with his wife’s passing but it was rather enlightening to read a personal memoir by an author who I suspect is an extremely private person. The depth of his loss and subsequent sorrow is immense; how he chose to communicate that loss to his reader was very different to my approach.

And that’s a good thing.

For everyone grieves differently. And different authors approach the same subject matter in their own unique way. And yet, despite our differences – as people, as writers – we are still able to find the common threads of love, loss, passion and peace.

“Evelyn’s presence is always with me, especially when I spend time at Happy Isles, her favourite place in the valley. I’m surrounded by the words of John Muir, as well as by owl and hawk, mountain lion and bear, raven and jay, coyote and ouzel, which often show up unexpectedly with surprising inflections of wisdom. I’ve finally accepted that death is a necessary part of life and that I have had to turn away from home and live in the backcountry of stone for a while to deal with my grief. In spring I think I will be ready to turn back toward life.”

R. Mark Liebenow

On a less personal but equally important note, I read Mountains of Light while writing the next draft of my screenplay, God’s Country, about Canadian-born silent screen star, Nell Shipman. Nell’s story is very much about her love of the natural world and wild animals. Mountains of Light was the perfect book to be reading while working on this script. I think we sometimes lose sight of how much wisdom the wilderness holds. And what we lose sight of, we risk losing.

I highly recommend reading this beautiful book.

Retriever not included in book giveaway 🙂

*Win a copy of Mountains of Light

If you would like chance to win a copy, please send us an e-mail by Aug 15th, with the subject line, “Mountains of Light,” and your name will be entered into the draw.

*Contest open to WWOW (Weekly Words of Wisdom) subscribers only. If you’re not a subscriber but would like to be 🙂 here is the link to sign up.

A Widow’s Awakening Novel Coming Sept 13th

Please visit BHC Press to pre-order.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

 

 

Maybe True Love Means Tough Love? 

 

“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny.”

– John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

What would you do if your dream was handed to you on the same platter as your soul mate’s life?

Not all fairy tales have happy endings…but perhaps the best ones aren’t meant to? Maybe true love is also tough love?

Please click here to watch a 2-min book trailer, Do You Believe in Soul Mates?

“We must own our true stories. In doing so, we begin again to belong to the world in the way only we can. The door to soul opens.”

– Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft

Coming Sept 13th, 2018…

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the door sill where the two worlds touch. 

The door is round and open. 

Don’t go back to sleep.”

– Rumi

About A Widow’s Awakening

With over 2000 copies sold, the self-published edition of A Widow’s Awakening (2008) touched the heart and soul of readers.

Ten years later, we are thrilled to announce the book has been picked up for publication by BHC Press. The book will be published as a fictional novel on Sept 13th, 2018.

To pre-order a copy of the book, please visit BHC Press for a list of on-line booksellers.

This extraordinary story is a candid portrayal of Maryanne’s journey through the first year of grief after the on-duty death of her police officer husband. Engaging, powerful and heart-wrenching, this book captures the immense difficulty of accepting the unacceptable while learning to transform loss into positive change.

What Readers Are Saying…

“I started reading A Widow’s Awakening on Sunday and finished it Monday. The first third of your book touched me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I cried so hard, my eyes became swollen; the pain was so real. I haven’t cried that hard in a long, long time. The grief you expressed was so real to me, as I experienced my own grief in a similar way. Reading your book has been healing for me.” 

– Cristy

“What an incredibly powerful and moving book! Although I had tears in my eyes as I read each page, I think your messages are uplifting and are so important in challenging the human spirit to make our lives mean something meaningful in this world, by helping others and doing something more for society. It is so cleverly written and thought provoking. I haven’t enjoyed a book this much since I taught classic literature to high school students a few years ago.”

– Sarah

“WOW! As soon as I read the first line, I couldn’t put the book down. The truth on soul-mates, hope, after-life, happiness, sadness…you definitely told your tale as it is. I can’t stop talking about this book. I’m glad you shared your story with us.”

– Parveen

For additional reader testimonials, please click here.

About Maryanne Pope

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. She is the executive producer of the documentary, Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here. Maryanne lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Join the Journey – Request an Early Review Copy of A Widow’s Awakening before June 30th

 

“The experience of reading this book is nothing less than a journey. One woman’s journey from the death of her husband, through the search for some meaning, and finally to a level of acceptance. I’m sure there isn’t one among us who hasn’t been on the same search at one point in our lives and can relate to her story. I hesitate to use the term “story”, because it doesn’t do it justice. With this being a true event, it has much more meaning than a work of fiction. I really enjoyed this book and could relate to her struggle.”

– AWA reader, LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program

Request Your Early Review Copy by June 30th, 2018

If you’re interested in reading A Widow’s Awakening by Maryanne Pope before it’s official release by BHC Press on Sept 13th, check out the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.

If you follow that link, on the right hand side of the page is a link to sign up as a LibraryThing member. Then you can request a free copy to read and review. You may not receive a copy, as only 50 books will given away in this June promotion – but it’s worth a shot.

The publisher (BHC Press) did the first round of the Early Reviewers Program in April – and the reviews from that round are starting to come in. And they’re…GREAT! Here’s another one:

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although the title may lead you into thinking it was going to be somewhat depressing this wasn’t the case. The author shared her pain, memories, (sometimes) weird and random thoughts on death and what comes after. Really well written, not boring, sometimes sad enough to bring tears to my eyes but on the whole an enjoyable read.”

– AWA Reader, LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program

For more reader testimonials, please click here.

About A Widow’s Awakening…

Do you believe in soul mates? What if the death of your soul mate meant the birth of your life-long dream?

A Widow’s Awakening is a fictional account based on the true story of a young woman’s struggle to come to terms with the death of her police officer husband who died while investigating a break and enter complaint.

Engaging, powerful, heart-wrenching, and at times humorous, this honest look at the first year of a widow’s grief captures the immense difficulty of learning how to accept the unacceptable while transforming loss into positive change – and is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Pre-Order A Widow’s Awakening

The book will be released on Sept 13th, 2018 and will be available in print & as an e-book wherever books are sold. To place your pre-order, please visit the A Widow’s Awakening page on the BHC Press website for a list of all the on-line retailers taking pre-orders.

History of the book

Please click here to learn a bit of the journey A Widow’s Awakening has already been on!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.