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Friday, November 16, 2012

Getting Out of Bed: The arrival of GOOB

"You are a work of art in progress."

Yesterday, I was the happy recipient of a box of books titled Getting Out of Bed in the Morning. My two daughters (my son was at work) and husband were able to share in some of my excitement over the contents with me. My daughters breathed in the aroma of the pages, something I've taught them to do. There is nothing like the special scent of a newly-published book. Especially when your name is on the cover as the author.

Holding a copy of my devotional was a dream come true. I savored the feel of both the book and my heart. This book is compiled of forty devotions and a large piece of my broken heart.

In 1997 my son Daniel died after eight months of cancer treatments. He was four. I was thirty-six. I was angry with God for not healing him. The cancer hadn't killed him; it was the severe treatments that compromised his body. A staph infection took over and eventually his heart stopped. He died in my arms.

I was pregnant at the time. While my baby kicked inside the womb, my son gritted his teeth and left this earth. Three months to the day of his death, my fourth child, Elizabeth was born.

Getting out of bed each morning after Daniel's death was surreal. How could my son be gone? How could I still be alive? What was wrong with God? Why hadn't he saved my little boy from death? How would I live now? What was the point of going on?

I wrestled with questions, primarily to God. Why? How come? How could you? Why?

I wanted to die.

I didn't get to.

Instead, I put one foot in front of the other. And at the end of each day, I went to bed and woke to try again the next morning. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. Deep breaths.

I would never ask God for anything again.

I knew too well that He could say, No.

Journaling was a lifeline. So was the support of the Wake County, North Carolina Compassionate Friends group. Some books helped. I wrote articles that made it into print magazines. I founded Daniel's House Publications and through it, compiled two cookbooks of recipes and memories in memory of children, who like my Daniel, had died way too soon. Slices of Sunlight came out in 1999 and two years later, Down the Cereal Aisle followed. I had an online newsletter.

I cried and missed my son. Birthdays came and I sent balloons up to him in Heaven. Christmases made me hollow and I was glad when the season ended.

I spoke at conferences. I taught on the benefits of writing through grief. I met some wonderful people---real people----the kind that know they are broken and that life is not for wimps.

I wanted to write a book on how God fit into my struggle. Believe me, I tried. I had agents and editors interested, but nothing stuck.

Until . . .

Last year, Leafwood Publishers said, Yes! This publisher took my fragile mother's heart and said, We believe in you. We read your words. You do have something to say.

I wrote Getting Out of Bed in the Morning to offer a morsel of hope to those without. I want to share with others that although they are weak and struggle, they aren't alone. God is the provider of the daily bread, the wisdom, the cup of cold water, the balm of healing, the hope of tomorrow. He has this awesome thing called sustaining grace. He supplies it. And He loves us, no matter how battered we might feel.

God is for the broken hearted.

God is for you.

To order an autographed copy of Getting Out of Bed in the Morning , head over to my Broken Psalms blog (join it, if you'd like) and visit the Rivers of Life Gift Shop.

[This post also appears on my Broken Psalms blog and my Writing the Heartache blog.]


Lorilyn said...

Alice, I can't imagine enduring what you have been through. I pray that you book can help those who have walked this road. I used to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House and came into contact with many families like yours. It's a very lonely journey. I don't know how anyone can do it without a living faith in God. Even with God, it's hard.

alice wisler said...

Lorilyn, you are so right. It is difficult. Thanks for your words here. The devotional stems from my broken heart over the loss of Daniel, but there are others losses included in its pages as well---loss of health, finances, relationships. Life equals loss.

Again, thanks for your comment here!

authorkathyeberly said...

Alice, you have turned what was unthinkable into hope. Thank you for your love and care for others. God bless you!

alice wisler said...

Thanks for reading and for your words, Kathy.

Kristena Tunstall said...

What a beautiful posting. I cried reading it. You and I have taken a similar journey as we both have lost a child that seems way to young to have gone to heaven already and then taken that long and winding grief journey afterwards to take us where we are today.

I too wished I could have died so many times. No, I would have never taken my life (as I am still here) but boy did I wish God would take me already as the hurt went so deep my physical heart would hurt from the pain. I could explain how it was really hurt as the heart beating inside my body actually hurt but it did.

The loss was so accute. I went from being a stay-at-home mom of a severally autisic little girl, who also happened to be our only child due to infertility issues, and now she was gone in only 16 long days due to how the E. coli she contracted ravished her little body which ultimately took her life.

I think the book you wrote will help so many. I started writing what was happening to her onto a Care Page, to help keep family and friends who were not able to come and see her up, so that everyone could be as up to date with her current situation.

I had no idea at the time how important those entries would become as I started to hear how my writing was able to touch so many and that they felt like they were there with us as they read and cried reading it.

About three months after she passed I was sitting at home all alone with only our new 3 month old puppy and also kitty when all these thoughts started to circle around that I had to get them written down.

So I sat down at my dining room table, opened my laptop and started to pluck away on the keys. In the end, that post was the starting of a dedication website in honor of my beloved angel now in heaven. It is like a timeline through my grief journey. No, I don't write on it nearly as much as I did in the beginning. But for me, it is not about writing something to just write on it. I write on it when the time is right.

I too have started to write a book in dedicaiton to my daughter. I've actually taken what I wrote from her 16 day journey to heaven. I've completed the first draft. Someday I will finish it and look to get it published but in the mean time I've also started to write fiction.

It's all because of God's grace and love that He has helped me to get to where I am today. The blessing and gift of writing He has bestowed upon me has both surprised and comforted me.

In that first couple of years I couldn't say I was thankful for anything because it felt like if I did I was saying I was thankful for my daughter dying. I have since learned I can find so many blessing through a great tragedy. God gives them so freely when you learn to truly trust in Him in all things.

Thank you for sharing with us all through your writing.

alice wisler said...


Thanks so much for sharing here. Your words have touched my heart.

Keep writing! Writing certainly helped me and continues to heal.

Your sister in grief and hope,