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360 degrees of grief, hopeAs I removed the key from the lock and I turned away from the door, the warmth from the gleaming sun captured my attention. At that very moment, I promised myself to take notice of every little speck of nature that I could see, smell and hear.

I became aware of newly formed anthills – which looked like tiny volcanoes in the soft rich red-brown earth. I saw indentations in the grass that looked like paths for tiny feet to follow, and there were squirrels hopping from tree to tree – unaware, and not caring, if they lost their grip. Beside them were birds twittering happy tunes while perched on branches that were swaying in the breeze. I took deep breaths of the October scented air. Despite this being Central Texas, I caught the fragrance of autumn.

I lifted my chin up to the endless lucid blue sky and spotted a soaring black bird. It floated and circled in tranquility, and then memories surfaced that shattered my peace.

Heartache appeared out of nowhere, like lava emerging from a crack in the earth. There was no stopping it and I struggled to keep the pain from reflecting on my face. The thought that caused this emergence was, What if that same bird were flying above my farm? I would have avoided this memory at all costs if I had known it was coming, but that is not how grieving works.

Grieving is a process. It starts out with hurt feelings, good memories, anger, wild rides through the ups and the downs, or a mixture of all of the above, and then it settles out. A memory pops in randomly at some point in the future, triggered by a sight, a smell, a voice, or a sound, and the hurt is raw once again — but for a much shorter moment of time.

Through this anthology, I am here today to share hope with you: 360 Degrees of Grief: Reflections of Hope (Selah Press, author Kayla Fioravanti).

This book holds several of my stories, and I was part of the editing team. I was deep into studying one of the stories when God touched my spirit. I became aware that I had been under a blanket of heaviness. I had not walked through the bright new door that God had opened; in fact, I had my foot in the door so that it would not close behind me. What a healing experience that revelation that was! I let go.

I felt compelled to share my breakthrough, so I submitted a third story to this book.

If you are grieving, and even if you are not, this book encapsulates hope. Each author shared their own unique openhearted story of grieving, but by the sheer fact that we gathered and wrote our lessons for you to read, we all grew and moved ahead in our personal journeys. I wish that same healing for you, and for all!

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