Friday, August 30, 2019
Inspiring Book Helps Us Grieve
On National Grief Awareness Day, A Poignant Book by A Mother Who Lost Her Teen Daughter, Shares Guidance on Grieving
Any loss, of life is a burden to survivors, but to lose one’s child is the greatest loss of all. Kim Peacock, after many tears shed and wounds salted, is giving something back to the millions of people each year who lose a loved one – and to the tens of millions who seek to comfort those who suffer a loss. Her new book, Victorious Heart: Finding Hope and Healing after a Devastating Loss (Morgan James Publishers), honors her teen daughter’s life, Nicole, while sharing useful advice, guidance, and support for those in the throes of grieving. It is a perfect contribution for National Grief Awareness Day, August 30th.
Kim says she suffers from a grief PTSD. And who would expect her not to? Not only did she suffer the loss of her daughter, she witnessed it, a horrific ATV accident while on a family vacation two decades ago.
“Even though you never ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one,” says Kim, “you are honoring them by living well and not forgetting them. You can live victoriously in the midst of your grief. Victorious Heart was written to help those in the valley of sorrow to know that they are not alone and they will make it through the heartbreak of losing a loved one.”
Kim’s book is a beautiful story of hope and healing. It helps provide answers to questions about surviving a deep pain, how one finds joy again, and how to navigate challenging moments months and years later. Her advice to those grieving includes these insights:
Here’s an interview with Kim, a client for the public relations firm that I work for:
1. Kim, you witnessed your teenager daughter, Nicole, die in an accident while on vacation, seeing her drive an ATV off the road and plunging to her death. How did you find the strength and courage to live with such a devastating loss? Nicole’s accident is forever imprinted on my mind. When I allow my thoughts to dwell there I struggle to find strength and courage. In the days leading up to Nicole’s service we found a verse that stood out to us. Joshua 1:9 reminded us to be strong and courageous because God is with us. I didn’t feel courageous, but those words reminded me that I could be because He was with me. The word Be implied that I had a choice to be strong and brave. So, every moment I had to be intentional about being brave, and sometimes that meant just getting out of bed in the morning. I still have to remind myself that I have to choose to be brave. Brave doesn’t just happen.
2. It’s been 21 years since that fateful day in December. Does it seem like yesterday? In many ways it does feel like it was just yesterday. There are times that the sorrow still overwhelms me like a wave and the pain is raw and fresh. Some days it feels like she was just here and seems strange that everyone else has moved on and grown up. Nicole would have turned 38 this year, but she will always be 17 years old to me. Her littlest sister, whom she always spoiled rotten is married and has 4 kids. It is hard for my brain to absorb that she has never seen her nieces and nephew. On the other hand, it seems like a life time since I’ve been able to hug my girl, hear her sweet voice and infectious laugh.
3. What inspired you to write not only your story but a helpful guidebook for those suffering a loss – and those who support the people who have lost a loved one? When Nicole passed away we weren’t prepared for the pain that entered our lives. Our family was thrust into another dimension. The world still looked the same, but nothing was the same. As we tried to find our footing in our new world, survival didn’t feel possible. We had amazing people around us who loved us, yet it felt as if no one could relate to the intensity of our pain. We began to seek out other parents who had lost children. Somehow to look at their faces and see their existence gave us courage to keep going. I want Victorious Heart to be a beacon of light to show others it is possible to not only survive, but to have hope and healing in the midst of their loss.
4. What should people understand about the grieving process? Grief is not a linear journey. There are many layers to sorrow and it is deeply personal. No two people experience pain in the same way. It is important to give yourself space to grieve in the way that brings the most healing to you. Don’t allow the expectations of our culture press you into a place that doesn’t do that. Also, once you experience the loss of someone you love dearly, you don’t “get over it”. Even though I have experienced a large measure of healing, my heart will never be “fixed” and return to the way I was prior to December 28, 1998. Grief is a part of my life and it has forever changed me, but that’s okay. It has brought a deep appreciation for life.
5. What advice do you have for friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues who want to help one in their grief but don’t know what to do or say? What do you say to a devastated, grieving family? The truth is, there is often nothing to be said, no magical words that will make it all better. But for us, the actions and care of the community around us acted as a salve to our wounded hearts. Women from our church just showed up with bottled water, food and cards. They quietly took care of what was needed. Our animals were fed, the trash was taken out and the counters were wiped down. Some of the greatest comfort we received came from those who said little, but just showed up. The acts of kindness from the those who expected nothing from us in return. They loved us without expectations or judgement
6. You have a blended family – a step-daughter, a daughter you share with your husband, and three adopted children. It looks like you have a huge capacity to love. How has Nicole’s passing influenced how you raised your children and now, several grandchildren? I realize how precious life is. My favorite memories of Nicole are the ordinary days. It is in those days in which we just did life. Watching her practice horsemanship for her next horse show or even the road trip to the next horse show. Those were the precious times. So, I try to be intentional about slowing down and savoring every ordinary moment with my kids and grandkids. I’m not guaranteed one more moment with them, so I have to remember to be present in every single moment I am in. I don’t always do it. It is very easy to get caught up in the striving, to get more and to do more. But it something that I try to always be aware of.
7. Where does the title of your Book, Victorious Heart, come from? Shortly after Nicole’s death a close family friend gave us a book mark. The top bore Nicole’s name and underneath was the meaning of her name. “Victorious Heart”. Those were perfect words to describe our girl. I began to think about what that would look like in my own life. I sure didn’t feel victorious, but a little seed was planted in my heart. I knew instantly that I wanted to live with a Victorious Heart. Those words became a sort of mantra and the theme of my life. In some ways it was a way for me to honor Nicole’s memory, but because of those words I found an unexpected conduit to the healing of my heart.
8. Tell us about Nicole. What kind of person was she? Wild and Free are the words that come to mind. Nicole gave love freely and without judgement. Her heart was always soft toward the hurting and she seemed to see a struggling person when no one else did. When she was young, she hated to lose and was frankly a sore loser. However, because she showed horses, she learned the importance of losing well. She worked hard and was a fierce competitor at every horse show. Yet, she decided early on that it was more important to her to make it her goal to make friends at every horse show she participated in. Her wild, free spirit showed through in her sparkly blue eyes and beautiful smile. She truly lived up to the meaning of her name. Victorious Heart.
9. How did prayer and your faith help you put Nicole’s death into perspective? When Nicole was being transported to the hospital a ranger offered to give me a ride. On that ride he said, “Don’t quit praying”. At the time I believed if I prayed, Nicole’s earthly life would be spared. What I came to understand was prayer would save my life. In Chapter 2 of the book I talk about how those prayers literally sustained me. I also struggled with visions of Nicole plunging off the sand dune repeatedly. During that time, I had to ask myself if what I believed about God and Heaven still held true in my pain. If it was true, then I believed that because of Nicole’s faith in God she was in Heaven and she was more alive than I was here on this earth.
10. You wrote, “Hope is not fragile; just hard to find when the lights go out.” What gave you hope? For me it is a matter of focus or said another way – perspective. When I look around at what I see, to the visible circumstances around me, that is when hope is hard to find. My focus is on my pain or the sad things of this world. However, when I step back and remind myself that what I see is not all there is, then I find hope. I have to rely on what I know, not on how I feel. What I know, what I believe is that there is a Heaven and our time on this earth is ever so brief, then there will be eternity. I do have a choice on how I spend my time --and where my focus lies.
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.