A few weeks ago, I found out a friend of a friend had lost a loved one to suicide. And then, more recently, we’ve all been shocked by the suicide of the Linkin Park member, Chester Bennington. I don’t know either of these people personally, and yet, I feel sadness.
Tragedy like this (tragedy of any kind) is uncomfortable. Vastly uncomfortable.
Honestly, before we get started, I have to admit that I didn’t want to touch this book (story) with a 100-foot pole. Grief and tragedy is so uncomfortable. It’s the underside of the good times that we’d all rather ignore. But, I’m here now (please forgive me for my tardiness), and I’d love to spend some time with you and Jean Ann Williams and her book.
Author Interview: God’s Mercies After Suicide by Jean Ann Williams
Quick (1-word) answers:
1. Favorite Dessert: Cheesecake
2. Favorite Book genre: Historical/Inspirational
3. Pet Peeve: Tardiness
4. Song on repeat: Morning Has Broken
5. Why do you think people like to ignore grief, their own and others?
Grief is too harsh of a reality. It physically hurts. We are a feel-good society, taught to disregard our negative feelings. Why would anyone ignore other people’s grief? I think there are various reasons. Some people are afraid they will say or do something to make the griever feel worse. A number of folks don’t want to be bothered. And still there are those who ignore their own grief and won’t want to acknowledge anyone else’s pain as well.
Cordially Barbara: Yikes, I think you hit the nail on the head there, especially “a number of folks don’t want to be bothered.”
6. How does God’s Mercies after Suicide help readers (and you) walk through grief? And the discomfort?
My story is honest, if nothing else. There are no feelings left unturned. I write about how God taught me to be wholly honest with Him. In the privacy of my home, I ranted and raved before Him. The Lord loved me through the pain. I share about how God’s blessings in the form of people-help comforted and encouraged.
Also, my story takes place during the Year of Firsts and how we as a family managed the holidays and special celebrations. In my book, I allow people to walk with me through the first twelve months after Joshua’s suicide and, in my A Mother’s Memories section, through the twenty-five years of my son’s life. The last section of each chapter is especially helpful to readers. There they can write their thoughts, feelings, and memories on a journal page.
7. Let’s talk platitudes. How did you handle platitudes?
I received few platitudes, and I would be polite because they didn’t know how I felt or what I was going through. But, the one platitude that was said one too many times in my early grief unnerved me. “Think of your grandchildren, Jean. They need you.” I learned to give them a kind but firm answer. “I gave birth to my son. I need him more.”
Cordially Barbara: Platitudes are my least favorite, and I’ve wanted to slap myself before when I’ve felt a platitude roll off my tongue. I think knowing how to respond to those who give them is a smart idea. And kindness is so important!
8. From your experience, what’s the best comfort that someone can offer?
Cry with me. My dear friend sat across the table from me and, before she said a word, huge tears rolled along her cheeks. When she could speak, she said, “This is the most horrific loss that can ever happen.” She reached inside her heart and met me in my pit of loss. Maybe another mother who’s lost a child wouldn’t be able to handle such heart-felt acknowledgement. I suggest it’s real important, if you know the griever, to consider their unique personality before you respond to them. Don’t think about what YOU would want, consider their needs. Sometimes a gentle touch to the shoulder is all which is necessary.
Cordially Barbara: Too true. Sometimes it’s so hard to know what another would want, but trying to see from their view might help you to help them in their grief.
9. Okay, back to God’s Mercies, is there a part of this book that makes you smile or laugh?
I laugh out loud every time I read the cute things my toddler son said or did in the A Mother’s Memories sections.
10. I like to write book reviews where I compare the book to a food. What would you compare God’s Mercies after Suicide to?
Sweet and sour sauce. As in life, so it is in death, there is a liberal amount of sour and a tad of sweet.
Cordially Barbara: That seems like a spot-on food comparison to me. I don’t think I could choose a better one. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us here.
Genre: Adult, Christian, Non-Fic, Memoier/Devotional
Publisher: Love Truth
Publication date: November 5, 2016
What if your child shot himself while you were in the next room? What if you held him as his heart beat for the last time? What if Satan whispered in your ear, “Now where is your God?” Find out how Jean Ann Williams reached out with her spirit and mind to the one true Father. Discover how the Lord God answered her, and walked alongside her in the most difficult grieving journey of her life.
Jean Ann Williams is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She writes regularly for Putting on the New blog and Book Fun Magazine on the topic of child suicide loss. Her book “God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart” started out as a blogged book on her Love Truth blog. Jean Ann and her husband of forty-six years have thirteen grandchildren from their two remaining children. They reside on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, fruit orchard, goats, and chickens. Jean Ann’s favorite hobbies are practicing archery, hiking through the woods, and big game hunting with her bow.
July 25–Singing Librarian Books
July 26–Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
July 27–Cordially Barbara
July 28–Mel’s Shelves
August 3–Breaking Ordinary
August 4–Radiant Light
Thanks to the Singing Librarian for this Blog Hop!
ANnnnnnnnnnnnd, if you want to check out this interview, tune in TONIGHT!