Learn the rest of the story about our authors. In this diverse group of strong women and their stories, we hope you will find hope as you navigate your own journey.
My story is about the gifts that came to me by being willing to forgive the perpetrator, forgive my parents, and forgive myself. I lived decades as a victim, numbing my feelings, choosing unhealthy men to love, and feeling unworthy. My life today is magnificent. It is a gift to live each day from a place of serving from my heart and helping women learn how to love themselves unconditionally.
I feel so grateful to be part of Susan Lataille’s book. Susan helped me and all the authors feel safe sharing our grief and healing journey. The message I want to convey from my chapter is that it is possible to heal from sexual abuse. I hope that my true story helps you forgive yourself and others, heal, and celebrate who you are. May you know that you are unconditional love, and it is your birthright to be happy, healthy, and free.
I was born in Newton, Massachusetts, then went to college at Massachusetts College and earned an Art BFA. I held the position of sales and marketing for Fortune 500 companies and institutions for ten years. I’m a Reiki master and studied cranial sacral. I have completed over thirty physical and emotional self-development programs. I was the director of administrations for an online spiritual institute for ten years. I’m a certified
coach through Life Mastery Institute with Mary Morrissey since 2014, licensed spiritual practitioner through Center for Spiritual Living from 2017-2020, and a lifetime spiritual practitioner.
My business is Pathways to Relationships. I help women over fifty
attract the man that loves you for you! I would love to have a conversation with you and learn how I may help you. You can find me contact me at email@example.com or learn more about me at www.pathwaystorelationships.com/
Joanne Sapers brings you her love of love and love, which came from her life experiences, combining over thirty years of studies, certifications, and degree programs. Joanne loves being a love relationship coach, a life-time spiritual practitioner, a speaker, and she is currently writing a book about healthy emotional love and loving.
Click here to hear more of Joanne's story at our book launch.
I was finally starting to live my life again when the pandemic derailed everything. My sister Diane had been fighting her health nightmare for years, but in late 2019 she insisted I stop waiting to live out a life-long dream I had been preparing for when her health began failing. It was her words that forced me into action to embark on my dream and leave her. Shortly after leaving, the pandemic hit, and her health took a drastic turn.I believe the harsh no-visitor protocols of COVID contributed to my sister losing her will to fight.
My story talks about the emotional rollercoaster I went through during the time I helped in caring for my sister, the challenges I faced trying to get back to her at the height of the pandemic, and how I am healing and grieving with my sister’s death.
The decision to write this story was difficult because it had only been a year since her death. I almost stopped but kept writing for two reasons. First, writing this story was therapeutic, and I discovered the source of my anger since her death. It was not the reason I thought.
The second and original reason I chose to share my story is personal. I have lost and grieved too many loved ones. Each time my experience with grief was different. The one common thread was there was no standard timeline or guideline to process all the emotions and stages of grief we hear about. I grieved each person as uniquely as our relationship was, and to
me, that is the perfect way to grieve.
During each grief process at least one person questioned the way I was “doing grief.” I even had a CEO ready to withdraw a promotion he had just given me because he thought I was too emotional. He made this decision just months after my sister Beverly died suddenly. Fortunately, he did not withdraw my promotion..
This past year I questioned myself on how I was grieving Diane. After all, she had been sick for so long. I should have been prepared; it should not have hurt so much. Feeling this way just added to my emotional turmoil. Then it hit me: it is impossible to prepare for someone leaving your life until they are no longer physically with you.
I am passionate about helping people discover themselves. For the last twenty years I have built my business as a coach, trainer, mentor, and speaker working with clients worldwide. I created The C.O.A.C.H. Principles Leadership System to achieve my mission to make trust, happiness, communication, and inclusion the core values in everyone’s life and work-place. My philosophy is simple: BE your best C.O.A.C.H. so you can DO your best! Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story is about the mind body connection with grief. I learned about this connection the hard way. Through three losses and thirty years of stress, I didn’t take care of my mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. I took care of everyone else first and didn’t take care of myself. I’m a strong person and always thought I was fine. Little did I know, I would suffer the consequences one day.
The loss of my father, my brother, and my friend came crashing down on me when my stomach started to hurt in 2016. Out of nowhere I was diagnosed with a severe autoimmune disease. Through my pain, I learned I wasn’t alone and there was a plan behind the plan. To heal my health crisis, one of the areas I needed to address in my life was grief. I finally learned what grief was and processed the pain and suffering I kept inside for so long. My journey to healing wasn’t easy but going through the process of releasing grief’s pain has freed negative energy from my body, mind, and spirit that was stuck inside for years. Gratefully and thankfully, I am now healed! I’ve been off all medications for over four years and my MRI continues to show no evidence of disease.
Through my continued dedication to self-care for my body, mind, and spirit, I’ve been able to maintain my health and well-being. I now think about my lost loved ones with love rather than the pain I felt for so long.
I share my story because I never want anyone to have to go through what I did. I want people to take care of themselves especially when they lose someone they love. I don’t want people to fear grief. I want people to go through the grieving process in a gentler and easier way than I did.
Through my healing journey I became a certified health coach and went on to create a non-profit to help people get well, stay well, and be well. Integrative Healthcare Solutions is a 501©(3) organization. Our website is www.ihsri.org. The mission of Integrative Healthcare Solutions (IHS) is to advance health and wellness by empowering people to take care of themselves. IHS is a resource center that gives people what they need to be well. We provide personalized support and access to services that address the “whole” person. Our goal is to help people create balance in body, mind, and spirit that can be sustained across their lifetime.
Click here to hear more of Catherine's story at our book launch.
This is a story of one woman’s journey caring for a spouse with a terminal illness. When most of us think of the word grief we think of the unfathomable sadness that comes from losing someone we love. But what do you call it when you’re caring for and watching that loved one suffer through a terminal illness that spans nearly a decade?
My story is an honest account of the well of emotions that I travelled through during my husband’s ten-year battle with prostate cancer and my search to find support for myself while being there for him 24/7. How could I share the guilt of even needing that support? Or of wanting to run away from it all every other day? The fear of not being able to help him and the hopelessness of what was impending was nearly unbearable. How did I dare have feelings myself when my husband was the one who was sick and suffering? It wasn’t until I started writing this chapter that I found out about the profound emotions attached to “anticipatory grief.” The eventual realization that everything I was feeling was normal and understandable is what I wish for you. It is my heartfelt desire that while reading my story you come to know, with certainty, that you are not alone.
Patrice has been a certified success and personal development coach for the past fifteen years. She is also a professional singer who has produced several one-woman cabaret shows performing them in New York, Boston, and Rhode Island. Through her coaching work and her shows, Patrice is committed to inspiring people to step out and live a life they truly love. She lives in Rhode Island with her wonderful daughters Julia and Micaela. You can contact Patrice at: email@example.com
Click here to hear more of Patrice's story at our book launch.
Since the passing of her son Nathan in 2017, Susan Lataille has been guided to help others through the grieving process. And after four years, in 2021, she was finally ready to take the step to become a Certified Master Grief Coach. She now aspires to assist others along their own grieving journey by offering love, compassion, and understanding.
Susan believes that compiling this book was the next natural step in that process, encouraging others to share their stories of love and loss. She hopes that by sharing these stories, not only will the authors learn more about themselves, but the stories will provide those living alongside grief both hope and inspiration.
Susan has been self-employed for over twelve years producing profession events in and around her community. Her purpose has always been to help people shine in a way that works best for them, and she enjoys watching her clients benefit from her services. And since 2021, she has added grief coaching and retreats to further that mission.
In addition to being a certified Master Grief Coach, she is also a Certified Integrative Health Coach, Reiki Master, Akashic Records Consultant, and Full Wave Breath Facilitator. Susan lives in Rhode Island.
Click here to hear more of Susan's story at our book launch.
This story is about the unique connection between a mother and her son, what the mother learned about herself after her son’s death, and what she continues to learn. Wendy wanted to share this story hoping to help others who have lost a loved one to suicide. Upon learning of her son’s death, she immediately felt compelled to carry on with his hidden ambition to live a full, laughter-filled life, and influence others to do the same.
Wendy lives in Norton, Massachusetts and is married to her husband, Buddy. Wendy is very proud of her two sons, who both joined the military out of high school, and both achieved non-commissioned officer status during their enlistment. Wendy has two beautiful grandchildren and is also the mom of her furbaby Briggs, an English Mastiff. She has been in direct sales for nineteen years with Reliv International, a nutritional epigenetic supplement company.
Wendy enjoys reading, home decorating, and spending time with her husband who has been incredibly supportive and is always able to make her laugh.
Click here to hear more of Wendy's story at our book launch.
When you are twenty-something and you have your whole life ahead of you, that’s exactly what you think: you have your whole life ahead of you. You have plans and believe that the fairy tale you imagined will play out exactly how you imagine it. Why would you believe otherwise? That is exactly what Glenn and I thought as we were making our plans for the future. No one would have predicted that a car accident would change everything.
My favorite book says, “I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a future and a hope.” This quote has been the anchor for my life, starting with Glenn’s accident, then navigating a painful divorce, raising two daughters as a single mother, finding my keeper husband, Bobby, and blending in his two sons to create our own version of the Brady Bunch.
I chose to share my story when Susan asked me because losing someone so significant at such a young age in adulthood can make or break the rest of your life. I could have gone a completely different path, a path of self-destruction rather than one of self-discovery. I hope to encourage you, the reader, to fully embrace the healing process, to learn something that will bring you comfort and inspire you to enjoy this dance of life.
Diane is the founder and chief empowerment officer of LinkRI, a leadership and human behavior consulting business. She has over twenty years of leadership experience, leading global teams. She is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University. A lifelong learner, she also holds several certifications: DISC Human Behavior Consultant, Maxwell Leadership Executive certified trainer, speaker and coach, Six Sigma Green Belt, Reiki I practitioner, and Magnified Healing initiated master teacher. Helping equip leaders is her passion.
Diane lives in Glocester, Rhode Island with her husband, Bobby. They enjoy weekends playing with their grandbabies when they aren’t serving in the community.
Connect with Diane at www.link-ri.com.
Click here to hear more of Diane's story at our book launch.
How can I possibly go on living when my twenty-six-year-old son has died? That was one of my early reactions after Mike’s death. Through many resources and tremendous support from family and friends, especially my husband and our daughter, I have learned to live with my heartache and even to rediscover joy and wonder. It has helped me immensely to recognize the things that really matter, and to let go of the rest. I hope that my story can inspire and encourage other grieving moms and suicide loss survivors on their grief journeys.
Barbara Barry loves to connect with people, share her positive attitude about life, and help them communicate effectively, especially with their loved ones. She has made a career as a technology solution-finder, teacher, and business owner. She offers one-on-one coaching through Barry Basic Computer Coaching.
Happily married since 1983, Barb and her husband John have two grown children. With their son in heaven, they have begun a new life in Maryland near their wonderful daughter and her family. As they relaunch (not retire!), they enjoy adventuring together, serving their community, exploring their new home state, and traveling. firstname.lastname@example.org
My story is about what life threw at me after my husband of twenty seven years was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. It begins with the diagnosis and how the news affected me personally. I explain why I knew at that moment that my life would be forever changed. I talk about how I felt watching my best friend and love of my life deteriorate so rapidly over a short period of time. I share my opinion on outside support groups and why I chose not to participate in them.
Throughout the chapter, I describe my emotional journeys while he was being treated, after his death, and up to the present. My story describes in detail what I learned about myself and the inner strength that came to the surface. It’s about having to make difficult decisions and how those decisions affect the rest of your life. It’s about giving yourself permission to move on.
I wanted to share my story of how grief affected me and the lessons I learned along the way. I hope that by sharing my experiences, I will be able help others who have lost a loved one deal with their pain and guilt. I wanted to share how important a role that family and a few close friends played in my life in dealing with grief. If my story brings some light and hope to others by describing what I went through and where I am today, it was well worth sharing it. I believe that you can find happiness again if
you give yourself permission. It’s all about you.
Carleen worked in the investment services industry for twenty-seven years. Her position was terminated in December of 2009 during the recession, eleven months after the passing of her husband. She started her passion career in 2010 as an interior decorator with Décor & You. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Management from Bryant University and completed the Interior Design Program at Rhode Island School of Design while working full time and taking night classes. She is passionate about helping her clients create and “love the space they are in.” She is blessed with her parents, three siblings, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and great nephews!
Click here to hear more of Carleen's story at our book launch.
The first time I experienced death was when I was eleven. I can see the exact moment: my mom got home from work and opened the back door. I was standing in the doorway of the kitchen and said, “I’ve been trying to call you. Where were you?” She looked at me and so sadly said, “Auntie Tootie died.” She burst into tears—I had never seen my mother cry before.
After that, as I got older and into adulthood, older family would die, which you expect. But no one that close to me, so death was always on the outside. My dad died seventeen years ago, but he was older and ailing, so death was almost a gift. Then in 2009, I lost my son. THAT was a complete devastation. I never knew how strong I was supposed to be for the rest of my life until that moment.
My friend who died just two years ago was a whole other matter regarding my connection to death. Losing a best friend leaves a void that can’t be filled until that relationship is created with another individual. And that will take time.
Losing my “go-to” person is a daily, often several times a day, loss, over and over again. Someone who you easily text to tell them something funny or hear from them and respond with some clever ditty. Someone who you joked with about being bitchy old ladies together and laughing all the way. And, because she was also my business coach, she knew my professional hopes and dreams and understood and supported them and guided me to help define them. To lose THAT person is overwhelming at times.
I wanted to share my story with Elaine because her death was not something I ever envisioned or even thought about. Losing parents or older relatives is expected. Acquaintances throughout life is just a part of life. Losing a child is every parents’ worst fear. But losing a best friend is just not something that ever crossed my mind. I was so taken aback by her death that when this book project came up, I knew instantly that it was Elaine I wanted to write about. I am blessed to still have her in my life every day. Her picture is on my desk, and I glance at it at least a dozen times a day and keep her apprised of what is going on. Because I speak with her and include her, she is still very much a part of my life. So, I know when I am sitting on my back deck with a glass of wine in my hand and start thinking catty thoughts that she is right there beside me laughing and loving.
Elizabeth Phinney is the author of the upcoming book Thrive to 95 and Beyond and an expert at Fitness After Forty FiveTM. You can find her at
This story is about a year-long journey of a daughter who loves her dad through hospital, hospice, and cleaning out his house. She gets introduced to riding the waves of grief, sometimes gliding gracefully and other times flailing and falling. She discovers that grief is like a wild animal that comes and goes as it pleases. Through the powerful, and sometimes surprising, presence of grief, she learns to give it the respect it deserves. The impor-
tance of holistic self-care, emotional healing, and embracing the nonlinear nature of grief are shared. Practical tips are also offered to ease the process of living with grief.
I shared my story because grief needs a voice. The stories in Shining a Light on Grief provide a powerful platform for readers to remember the personal and universal nature of grief. Our culture lacks sufficient guidance as to how to heal through grief; not just “get over it.” It is not well versed in the qualities of feeling, being, and releasing. For hundreds and thousands of years, the value of living has been placed on thinking, doing, and controlling. Grief breaks through all those paradigms. This natural emotion implores us to give it time and space, so that we can remain fully alive. Since every human is eventually touched by grief, more sacred spaces are needed to navigate this complex experience. This book offers an avenue of support to remind you to feel, heal, and know that you are not alone.
Losing a loved one is painful. There is no getting around it. My dad’s death initiated me into a depth of heartbreak that I had not yet known. Although I would not have voluntarily signed up for this experience, I now have more compassion for myself and others. When Susan asked me to be part of this compilation, I said “yes.” There were many times in the writing process that I wanted to change my mind. I had to dig deep, breathe a lot, and just keep going. This is what grief asks of us. I was also inspired by Susan’s vision and the beautiful, brave writers who I share this creation with. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the poignant presence of grief in all our lives. May you find perspectives to inspire you, grace to comfort you, and hope to sustain you.
Lisa Medley helps people reclaim their birthright to feel more connected, comfortable, and confident in their own skin. She is a personal energy optimizer, body relationship expert, and embodiment passionista.
Learn more at www.SoulisticArts.com