It was a warm and sunny April morning. A rapid sequence of phone calls was followed by a car journey that seemed to last forever. The next moments are fixed in my memory: arriving at noon at my adult daughter’s house, standing in its shadow whilst being informed that she was there but “gone,” falling to the ground and crying, and finally in that haze of agonising, bewildering sorrow, quoting the words of Psalm 23:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
I had always understood this scripture to be God’s comfort during the time of our own death; but in the days that followed, the words took on a new meaning. I had been in the valley of death; not my own, but my daughter’s. I had been there before, when my son died in infancy, twenty-nine years earlier. This is the valley that no parent wants to pass through, the place of our worst nightmares, a place of great darkness.
I started working A Valley Journal while I journeyed through the initial valley of grief, seeking to survive. It is written in a way that I hope will be helpful to others.
It is based on a collection of original writings, inspirational reflections and poems, alongside quotations and scripture portions. It includes suggestions for putting your own thoughts and feelings into words, so that this book can become the basis of a personal reflective journal.
This book is not a step-by-step guide to surviving bereavement; it is based on my personal experiences as a bereaved mother, along with extensive reading. No journey through grief is identical, yet we can find comfort in discovering that what we are experiencing is not entirely unique.
When you are seeking comfort, strength and hope, dip into this book. There is no need to follow a particular order. Look at the headings and see what appeals; read a page here or a page there as your concentration permits. Make your own notes, when you are ready, and if you wish. Return to the book later on; I think you will be surprised to discover how far you have travelled.
A Valley Journal is endorsed by The Dove Service, a BACP accredited counselling service.
It is available in paperback and hardcover from online retailers, and available on order from Waterstones, as well as other book shops.
Paperback edition, 19 x 13.5 cm, 125 pages:
Hard cover, colour , illustrated 19.5 x 19.5 cm:
First published 2014 by Onwards and Upwards Publishers, Surrey.
Both editions have space and prompt for personal reflection, like this