Shortly after posting about my son Joel on Monday, I got a response from a dear friend whom I’ve known since childhood who lost her daughter just four months ago—a beautiful, godly mother of four who’d been named for my sister & had helped care for my father…a tragedy that’ll never make sense this side of heaven. So, I sent my extra copy of Bright Hope to her, but it occurred to me that there may be others who need the comfort and wisdom of Lu’s grief memoir, so today I want to share just a little bit about LuAnne De Vries, grief, and Bright Hope. Why did LuAnne write her story? As a way of reaching out to others who grieve. Through her own struggles, she found wisdom and comfort, and her desire is to share what she found with others who may be searching and in great pain.Even the forward gives some wise counsel for those who are grieving: The grief journey globally affects every facet of our lives and is uniquely personal. When we’re suffering with grief, we need the support of others, but at the deepest level, no one else here on earth can completely enter into our pain, so it’s very lonely.
The beginning of the book offers a open look into the tender heart of grief. LuAnne had four sons and then adopted a darling baby daughter who came under the protective wing of the entire household! Everybody loved Mandy. The first part of the book gives an honest look through the rear view window into the storms and heartaches of LuAnne’s early life. Bright Hope is not a book with pat answers for hard questions. It’s a book than wrestles with all the crushing disappointments of life but still clings to faith: “So, is the saying true, ‘God doesn’t give us more than we can handle’? I don’t have the answer to that question. Only faith lets us believe there is a purpose, even though we may sail through life wondering, ‘What next?’ There will always be storms in life.” In the second part of the book, LuAnne tells the story of her daughter: her vibrant life, her sudden, tragic death, and the crushing impact of Mandy’s death on Lu. In this section, LuAnne shares some of the scripture verses, poems, journaling
and email notes that emerged from trying to process her grief. In Part 3, Luanne reflects on her long, slow journey toward recovery
…things she learned, little treasures of wisdom that spoke to her, the faith that anchored her soul and helped her move forward, and ideas for how to understand and offer comfort to others who are grieving. Today, LuAnne is a vibrant survivor with a beautiful, big family and lots of adorable grand children who keep her happy and busy. But, does that mean that everything is fine again? When I asked LuAnne how she was doing today, she responded: “People believe time heals—it does NOT. It’s a pain you learn to live with and call out to God often to get you through it another day. But I do focus on my blessings and go from there.” I’m sure that in life we never really forget our past with its joys and sorrows, but we can learn how to honor our past without letting it crush our present or destroy any hope for future joy. I think for all of us, part of the secret to surviving grief and heartache is in ministering to others, just as LuAnne is doing. She’s trying to reach out with her book, and if you’re in deep pain over the loss of a loved one, you might want to reach back!
(If you’re interested, you can order a copy of her book from Amazon below:)
(All the pictures and photo messages are from her book and/or her Facebook page, used by permission.)