This is Laura.
Her drink is a chai latte.
Laura was a fellow contributor to The Joyful Life Magazine when I met her. I really responded to her natural, unassuming prose, and I knew she was someone I was meant to be friends with. Our sweet mutual friend, Vicki, gathered four of us together on a bicoastal Zoom, and we took our friendship from there.
As for the topic of this Sips & Scripts, Laura just released her first book! The Missing Moved In: A Grief Journey hit the proverbial shelves on March 22nd of this year.
It’s strange to say a book about heart-wrenching loss is a “good read,” but honestly, when it comes to The Missing Moved In, it’s true. Laura’s writing feels effortless, and she weaves together memories and grief experiences with the skill of a veteran writer. Everyone will lose someone they love, and I hope they have a copy of this book when they do
So once again on Zoom (though we will meet someday in person!), Laura and I chatted for an hour about the origin of the book and her hopes for it.
LAURA DIDN’T ALWAYS CONSIDER HERSELF A WRITER
“I always journaled, but I never considered myself a writer. That was until I read Ann Voskamp’s seminal work, One Thousand Gifts. Ann writes in a way in which her prose feels like it’s equal parts poetry. I thought, wait— writing like this is a thing? I can write like that.
That kind of writing permission coupled with my father’s passing is how the book came to be. When you get to a point of having intense grief, there has to be a channel for it. I decided to write. I would put my observations into Facebook posts or blog posts. I think I just needed witnesses to my pain.
People responded to my posts. They had been through something similar. And grief is just so deeply lonely, that it was wonderful to have other people affirm what I was feeling.”
HOW THE BOOK CAME TO BE
“The book came to be via trauma. Truly, trauma. I lived through a season of losing my beloved father while also giving birth to a baby and becoming a military wife. So this book is a collection of observations about what I was experiencing during difficult times of change. But in writing about the loss of my father, this book is an offering of love to him.
This book is also an exploration of difficult questions. In life, we experience a lack of answers, but still asking the questions can be valuable.
This book wasn’t written from a particularly healthy place, but it’s honest. I was truly going through all of these raw experiences and feelings when I wrote it, and so it’s not necessarily an exact representation of who I am now. It is, however, authentic to that season.
My book is almost like a catalog of all of the different emotions that come with grief. We’re told that grief progresses through stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. For me, and I would say for most grieving people, it wasn’t linear. My experience was that my feelings were like the staircases at Hogwarts— constantly moving and shifting even after you thought you could count on them.
Although it can be violent and all-consuming at first, grief is something that you do learn how to carry. It becomes a part of who you are.”
GRIEF AS A CHARACTER
“Grief is a prominent character in this book whom I call ‘The Missing.’ This is how I was able to frame my grieving experience. I would use phrases like ‘The Missing is really close today’ or ‘I haven’t had a visit from The Missing in awhile.’
My relationship with ‘The Missing’ is rather complicated. I wanted to get rid of the grief, but I also wanted to keep it close because it connected me with my father, the one I lost. Grief and love are made of the same thing.”
CHRISTIANS AND DEATH
“I think Christians especially have a complicated relationship with death. Our whole faith is built on conquering death. Jesus conquered death, and we can be with him in heaven. All of this is true, but I also believe in the healing power of lament.
Jesus hated death as much as we do. When Lazarus died, Jesus had a visceral reaction, we know ‘he wept’ (John 11.35). Even though Jesus knew that he had the power to bring Lazarus back, grief still struck him. Jesus, our eternal model, is letting us know it’s okay to hate death. And if you’ve read the Psalms you know that we have full permission to feel the extent of our grief feelings no matter how ugly or deep they are.”
WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM THIS BOOK?
“People in grief want to be reassured that they are not alone. They want to know they can feel these deep hurts and that it does get better with time and intention.
If you are grieving, do not read this book until you are ready to feel. While my book does contain hope, I also do not hold back in describing some of the things I saw and experienced. Sometimes, grieved individuals are in survival mode and aren’t ready to dive into the difficult emotions fully.
If people take nothing else away from my book, I want them to know they are seen, and they are loved, and it’s okay to not be okay.”
ADDIE’S CLOSING REMARKS
Reader, the deep void you feel for that person that you’ve lost? Yeah, Laura’s with you. Her book will make you nod your head in agreement, cry empathetic tears (the scene in the recliner!), and laugh when she flexes her wit muscle.
You can find Laura’s book on Amazon— click here to check it out.
With His love,