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When Tragedy Strikes…

by Shirley E. Gould

My amazing husband passed away suddenly on May 7, 2013. My life has taken a devastating turn that has sapped my writing creativity. It’s hard to string words together when you’re telling yourself to breathe in and out, when your heart is broken, and everywhere you turn reminders of his absence overwhelm your emotions.

After two months of crying, coping, and crying some more, I began to relive our forty wonderful years of romantic memories and amazing adventures around the globe. When I look back, my cup runneth over with blessings beyond compare. Now, the biggest fan of my writing resides in Heaven. But, I know he would want me to continue…there are stories to be told.

One thing has surprised me. Since I returned to my keyboard, writing has become therapy for me. When I’m in my fictional world I experience a reprieve from the lonely reality that is my new normal. For those hours my focus isn’t on my incredible loss of life, but on breathing life into my prose.

This experience has changed me. I find I’m able to express intense feelings on paper with more fervor. After all, the roller-coaster of emotions I have endured is part of our daily Christian lives. As friends and relatives gathered to grieve we experienced a special closeness that is called family, the laughter of precious grandchildren, tears of the broken hearted, and the support of a compassionate church family. These dynamics have intensified my fiction as I’ve transferred these sentiments to the printed page.

I’ve learned whether relishing a memory, pouring out my pain, or trying to paste on a smile, it translates well into Christian fiction as we move our readers with our stories. It adds a new dimension to the emotions of the fictional characters we are depicting when we describe our personal experiences in depth through their actions. Being able to relate how the Lord carries us through the storms of life increases the spiritual take away for our readers. And, isn’t that our purpose?

As friends and family hover near when tragedy invades your life, I urge you to rely on the One who sticks closer than a brother, to cherish the memories you hold dear, and allow your fictional characters to help you survive the depths of despair. These characters won’t let you down…BUT, if they do…press DELETE! And carry on.

Shirley GouldShirley Gould is an inspirational speaker for churches, women’s conferences, an African missionary, and a freelance journalist. She is founder of Kenya’s Kids Home for Street Children in Kenya, East Africa. She makes her home in the Nashville, Tennessee area, enjoying her three daughters, three sons-in-law, two grandchildren, Madison and Jake…and a really loud parrot.

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2 Responses to When Tragedy Strikes…

  1. Margo Carmichael says:

    What a beautiful couple. I’m so glad you have the blessed confidence that he is in heaven and you will see him again. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

  2. Paula Sue Ralston says:

    Hello Shirley, I am uncertain if you even want to hear from me since it has been forever and a day since we have been in touch. I did send a note when we heard of your loss of JR. I know this has been hard for you and the girls. We think of you so often and pray for healing for your hearts. If you ever need a get away…we have a place for you here. Just give us a call. We have the same old number. We are so sorry for your sudden loss. May the peace God gives you keep you ready for when you see JR again! God Bless You! Sue Ralston