Today I'm very honored to have a guest with us. She is a fellow writer, one I met online. I found out about her son, Daniel, when I mentioned I had a child with cancer. Alice was quick to share her story and offer a shoulder to lean on if I should need it. She has written a book about dealing with grief, and let me tell you, this book is fantastic--whether your child has cancer or not!
Katie--Hi Alice, thanks for stopping by! Can you tell us a little about your son and his diagnosis?
Thanks for having me as guest on your blog.
Daniel was a mama’s boy, a lover of Cocoa Puffs cereal and Toy Story, best friends with his older sister, and born with a great sense of humor. He was three when diagnosed with neuroblastoma and four when he died on 2/2/97.
Katie--There is a sweet spirit that eminates from his pictures. A beautiful boy! How long after Daniel’s illness did you realize that writing was a good outlet for your emotions? How did you cope before you came to that discovery?
When Daniel was in the hospital undergoing treatments for his malignant tumor, I was glad to have the companion of my journal. When he died, I needed to write out my anguish more than ever before. My heart was broken. Writing saved me.
Katie--I can understand that. Many people have encouraged me to write about my own experience, but I haven't found the courage to do that, other than this blog. When did you know that you wanted to write a book about grief, and how did you come to that decision?
Ever since Daniel’s death, I wanted to create a book about the journey of loss. Although I wrote numerous articles on losing a child to death, the book didn’t materialize until later. Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache stemmed from my own faith walk on this journey as well as from what I’ve learned about writing through heartache. I think I needed time to develop my new relationship with God—when Daniel died my old relationship seemed distant and I didn’t feel God at all. In fact, I felt abandoned. Over the years, I was able to cultivate a new song, so to speak (Psalm 40:3). I realized the strength God is when He sustains us on our journey. He doesn’t take away our agony or situation, but He is faithful to give us what we need in order to travel over the rocky path.
Katie--Your faith is inspiring. What is your best advice for someone who’s dealing with grief (of any kind)?
Don’t try to skirt around it; you have to go through grief. Weep boldly. Don’t be afraid to question. God can handle all your tears, your confusion, and your doubt. Be authentic. Don’t pretend. That’s the best way to heal.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your writing?
I grew up as a missionary kid in Japan and love sushi! Now I live and write in Durham, NC and bake a lot of bread in my bread maker. I’ve written five novels—Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl, A Wedding Invitation and Still Life in Shadows. All of them are Southern with recipes in the back, and all have an international connection as well as one to loss. I teach online grief-writing courses and all-day workshops locally as well as at conferences and seminars. I love speaking to groups from my Broken Psalms presentation—about how God sustains us in our circumstances (themes from Getting Out of Bed in the Morning). I have three blogs and one website: http;///www.alicewisler.com. And oh, I really like going out for sushi.
Thanks for stopping by, Alice! I strongly encourage you to check out Alice's book Getting Out of Bed in the Morning. It is available here! BUT WAIT! If you would like to win a copy of Alice's book, then simply leave a comment and I will choose one random commenter as a winner. Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you (i.e. your email address, etc.). Entry will be closed on Monday the 18th.