Woodland of Grief (Memoir Writing)

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Woodland of Grief

When the wild woods of grief

call out my name

and I’m found wandering

on the river trail of pain

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I need your merciful grace

to keep my steps straight and sure

So the journey of my loss

brings me back to where we were

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Back to the tonic of Your Word

and to the kindness of Your Way

as forest rains match my tears

and the Sun returns to stay.

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Wendy ❀ 2015

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Recently my oldest son introduced me to a river trail I hadn’t been on before.

It reminded me of a memoir I’d read. It was written by a loving Christian father who lost his only son in a car accident. His son was also a believer and was on a mission trip with others from his church when he died. The father and son loved to fish together. Just as I started talking to my son about the book , two young men carrying fishing rods passed by us.

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Back to Tonic was an emotional roller-coaster ride to read. Gene was raw and honest in this memoir. I gained a deeper empathy and understanding for parents who have lost a child. Gene’s writing is engaging and real. I cried, I laughed, and I faced some of my own demons of grief. If you like memoirs–you’ll love this one. It will help you with your own questions and doubts about how God can allow suffering. It challenged and changed me.

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The above paragraph is my Goodreads review of Gene Kiepura’s memoir.

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Gene’s book helped me gain a deeper understanding and compassion for what grieving parents go through. In his memoir he also included words his sisters had shared with him about how they reacted to the news his son, Jake, had died. This too ministered to me. My own experience was similar to one of Gene’s sisters.

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When I received the bad-news-phone-call

 about a 16-year-old family member (8 yrs ago),

I was working on a rock garden.

But instead of giving into the temptation of hurling rocks in frustration

of what I perceived to be unanswered prayers—I chose to trust.

I’d been down the other road so may times before,

and I couldn’t bear driving that dismal highway of hurting again.

So I did a lot of crying. A lot. Because tears tenderize.

Because weeping won’t make me bitter.

And I’m believing my dear relative is in the arms of the One I asked to protect her.

I’ve chosen to trust.

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I want to end on a positive note—like Gene does in his poignant memoir—my late niece’s legacy to me is don’t sweat the small stuff with my teenagers. Hug them lots and lots. Laugh with them. Listen. And give them unconditional love, even and especially when they mess up.

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That’s what our heavenly Father does with us.

I’ll continue choosing the path of peace,

and allowing the hard places, the rocky places, to be used for good—

to accentuate the flowers in this garden of life.

Blessings of Trust ~ Wendy ❀

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Here’s a link to Gene’s blog—it’s one of my favorites.

Eugene Kiepura

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