Friday, October 31, 2014

Refined by Fire, A Journey of Grace and Grief 
       by Mary Potter Kenyon

       I just finished reading Refined by Fire, A Journey of Grace and Grief.  I flew through the pages, barely stopping to eat, use the bathroom or even breathe.   I didn't want to stop to do the necessary things in life until I finished.
        But I almost felt guilty reading Refined by Fire.  Why guilty?  Mary’s private thoughts, pains, anger and glimpses of happiness were written in such a way I felt like I was spying on her. Was I an intruder in her home?  Was I the proverbial fly on the wall, seeing and hearing all the conversations, both those spoken aloud and those in her head?
        Mary’s book shared her path of grief after she lost her mother, her beloved husband and her grandson within a few short years.  She writes clearly about the process of joining the world of the living, slowly and painfully until she gets cut off at the knees for the second and then a third time.  I felt her heart shatter and the physical pain that comes from such a loss.
       Yes, this book has very sad things to say.  It is about death, grief and loss, but more importantly it is about hope.  I was allowed to follow along as Mary went through her stages of extreme sadness until she came to the conclusion she was strong enough to go on with life. She illustrated how she came to that place.  I felt myself rooting for her, as much as if I was at a high school football state championship game. 
       I enjoyed the quotes she included from books she read that helped her as she walked the path alone.  The sources were listed so I could go and read them for myself.  She also included her own journal entries as she waded through the muddy waters of her emotions.  Both gave me insight.
      I think this book would be helpful for anyone who grieves the loss of a loved one.  Most everyone experiences a loss during a lifetime: a parent, a spouse, a child, a grandchild or a close friend.  Mary's journey speaks to all paths of grief.

       I recommend picking up a copy, reading it for yourself, whether you are in the grieving process or not.  It is a story of one woman’s resiliency in dealing with the messiness of life.  Share it with a loved one who could use a hand up during a difficult time.  I know I plan to share this book as a gift to my friends and relatives when they experience a loss.