About the Pilgrimage

Living with Life-long Loss

Cropped_Glacier,_Avalanche_LakeWhat I didn’t find was much on the long years ahead of living with loss.

In pilgrimages, people choose such travels, filled with obstacles, because of their belief in the importance of the quest.  It is usually to a place of spiritual significance, like the historic Santiago de Compostela route, Mecca, or the Ganges River. In early years it also meant “wanderer.”

But for mothers and fathers, our long journey is unchosen.  Nor is there an end point destination. Parents rarely seek illusionary “closure,” expressing instead our reality of living with the forever love of our child.  But significance infuses our wanderings.

So, for the past I have been listening and learning from other families.  Their stories inspired me as I heard how many eventually embraced their changed lives with open hearts, seeking significance and meaning.

But we are a “mourning avoidant” culture, and I also met parents who found their lives narrowed.  Adhering to the perceived cultural message “to keep grief to yourself” left them grieving alone.  They lost trust in life, broken by the fragility of unforgiven memories, living with emotional distance, even mind-numbing addictions.  Their stories give glimpses of why a compassionate community matters.


Toward Healing

kristapic1But for some, the love that lies underneath such sorrow often proves to be a wellspring for new creative ways of living. Researchers actually refer to this now as Post-Traumatic Growth.  Our memoir, and these parent interviews will be in my book Pilgrimage through Loss to be published in early 2014 by WJK Press.

But it is never easy.

At one of Krista’s memorials, I saw a college friend whose family endured the murder of her 2-year-old nephew.  “Molly, how did your family ever survive Devon’s death?, “ I asked.  She paused for a moment, and then said simply, “Your joys become more intense.”  I

So we will focus on the lifelong journey, and what leads or hinders, pathways to healing.   “To heal” means “to make whole, sound, and well,” what every grieving parent longs for again.  Naturally, this means our pilgrimage will include adventures in our luminous world, as well!

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5 Responses to About the Pilgrimage

  • Linda, this is so poignant. My heart is saddened once again thinking of Krista but I see how this book will help those who grieve so much! Blessings to you and Jim!

  • As a teacher and minister’s wife, I have noted the void of materials on this vital subject. Although I have not experienced this horrid loss
    myself, I can now direct people who need information and support to your blog and book. Thank you for this important work… A gift!

    • Thank you,Lura. That’s actually what drew me to interviewing other mothers and fathers. I needed to hear from them how they still lived creatively after such shattering loss. Although there seemed to be good resources on the immediate days, weeks, and months of early acute loss, I found very few that talked about the years of living with forever love and loss. Parents surprised me with their eagerness to share their inspiring insights!

  • Thank you Linda for tackling such an important life experience. Over the years many friends have gone through loss experiences and I’ve looked for something like this to read together. I am really looking forward to reading it. Your book Bold Spirit has been such a great avenue to conversations about family secrets. I know this one is going to be just as much an avenut to deep conversations and assistance in healing.

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About Linda
For everyone, life sometimes brings shipwreck moments.

Ours happened when four friends woke us one beautiful May dawn to break the news that our 25-year-old married daughter Krista had died 7000 miles away while volunteering in Bolivia. Our hearts shattered, much like the shards of her bus that plunged over a mountain cliff.
Follow our path…

Get your copy now!

Pilgrimage through Loss can be purchased from your favorite independent bookstore OR
Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes & Noble
Purchase on The Thoughtful Christian

Read early reviews.
Available now…

Desperate. Determined. Unwaveringly confident. In 1896, a Norwegian immigrant named Helga Estby dares to cross 3500 miles of the American continent to win a $10,000 wager. On Foot. BOLD SPIRIT: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk across Victorian America introduces readers to this fascinating journey of an audacious act of courage and love of a mother trying to save a family farm.

“You absolutely do not want to miss this book!” ~Mitch Finley, Auntie’s Books

Purchase on Amazon
Purchase on Barnes & Noble

Support for Parents

+ Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors On-line forum and website www.allianceofhope.org

+ American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) (Formerly Candlelighters Childhood Cancer) www.acco.org

+ Compassionate Friends www.compassionatefriends.org

+ First Candle: www.firstcandle.org Support for Stillborn and SIDS deaths

+ Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) www.catholiccharities.net/loss

+ MISS Foundation (also in Spanish) www.missfoundation.org On-line support groups : Infant & toddler death and advocacy

+Parents of Murdered Children www.pomc.com

+ TAPS: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors: www.taps.org 1-800-959 3277 for survivors of military deaths