Just a thought… Be willing to be a beginner every single morning. [Meister Eckhart]
As winter begins this afternoon and the official solstice occurs, it seems a good time to remind us all that the short, darker days will be turning around and we’ll see more light in the coming weeks and months. May that be a metaphor as we face the end of one year and the start of another.
Of course, for many, the lights will shine brightest this coming Monday and Tuesday, as families gather to celebrate the warmth and love of the holidays. How we wish these feelings could last through the year! But that’s up to us, isn’t it?
As we embark on a few weeks’ hiatus here on the journal, returning on Wednesday, January 2nd, I want to tell you what I hope for us in the coming year. 2018 has been filled with travel and adventures, sadness and serenity. As always, Rob and I have striven to keep a balance of it all and to stay the right amount of “busy.” We’re still working on it.
I’m finding myself filling in the calendar for the coming year with a mixture of company (coming down to join us between now and mid-February) and business travel: we’re returning to our Ontario home towards the end of the second month as we prepare to spread the word on radio, TV and in print media about Mourning Has Broken: Love, Loss and Reclaiming Joy.
Although I am bound by the rules set out by our publisher regarding what I can say about appearances and when I can say it, I was sent this Chapters Indigo notification by a friend, Charlene Close, earlier this week. So it’s out there: on Wednesday, February 27 at 7 pm I’ll be at Indigo in Oshawa for an interview about the book, followed by a book signing! I’m very exciting to be hitting up Durham Region and this gorgeous store and you can click this Facebook link or simply Google it for more information.
I hope to see you there, if you’re not coming to Oakville or one of the other appearances that have yet to be officially announced. If there’s any news over the holiday break, I’ll be sure to post it on Facebook – if you’ve been Invited to Like, please do click Like on the page and if you haven’t been…well, Like it anyway and that way you’ll get instant notifications that I’ve posted there, if you’re so inclined.
I have been blessed with the support and encouragement of a lot of my sisters in media and people whose paths I’ve been lucky enough to cross through my career: Marilyn Denis, Amy Sky, Olivia Newton-John and Jeanne Beker have all written a few lines, what we call “blurbs” for the book cover about its contents or its author. But the nicest surprise came our way from Jann Arden.
This phenomenal human being, who inspired me to start journalling 15 years ago, thanks to her own frank, funny and touching thoughts on the internet, said “yes” when I reached out and asked her to write a Foreword for the book. Although she was up to her eyes in her own projects (including a CTV sitcom that’s coming out in 2019!) she agreed to read the book and write the Foreward, warning me that she wouldn’t be able to get to it until mid-October because of her TV commitments.
Days passed. Then weeks. I figured that it was a nice try on my part and I didn’t blame her for not finding the time. I heard from our publisher that the book was put to bed before the holidays, so if we did eventually get something from Jann, we’d use it for the HarperCollins.ca website (where you can also pre-order the book) or on my own website. I wrote Jann and told her to take her time: the pressure was off and if she wrote anything, it wouldn’t be in the book per se.
She got back to me immediately and told me she was just finishing this “glorious” book of mine and asked if it was too late. I told her we’d see.
The next morning, this incredible singer-songwriter, herself living with the broken-heartedness of watching her dear mom slip away to the ravages of Alzheimer’s, sent me these lovely words.
There is nothing that can prepare you for life, nor is there a single thing that can prepare you for death, your own, or for one of your tribe, your flock, your familyblood or otherwise. Death comes down either by hammer or feather, neither of which are particularly kind.
What Erin Davis has managed to articulate with her gut wrenching and brilliantly inspiring memoir dumb-founds me. Page after page is filled with such grace and insight and openness that quite often I was wiping a tear off my cheek or a laugh from the corner of my mouth.
How do you reconcile the sudden death of your only daughter?
How do you navigate a marriage and a job and myriad friendships and errands and appointments and just day to day breathing in and out? Erin bares all and in doing so gives us the opportunity to share our own lossesmaking us feel less alone in our own rivers of grief. That river that winds in and out of our days, stealing sleep and happiness and eventually our mental, physical and spiritual health.
Grief shared is more bearable.
Grief shared heals tender hearts.
Grief shared is a gift that Erin Davis and her beautiful book Mourning Has Broken gives to humans everywhere.
Can you even believe the beauty of Jann’s composition? I was speechless. Teary and speechless. And in a small miracle, when I reached out to the senior VP and publisher who’s been shepherding me through this whole project, she said she’d talked to the art department and they had just enough space – and time – to add it to the book. The words “A Special Foreword by Jann Arden” have been inserted onto the front cover, right below Olivia Newton-John’s quote.
And so, there you are. A note of grace, the kindness of the universe and a message of hope moving forward. Sometimes all you have to do is ask and you shall receive; being patient and trusting that all will be well is another path to choose. There is still so much kindness in the world. And I wish you and your loved ones a gentle and peaceful holiday season and a serene 2019.
Merry Christmas. And above all, thank you. Talk to you here on January 2nd.