I wrote Forever Hopeful during the winter following the death of my husband, John, on July 25, 2013. On that day I joined the ranks of countless others who have experienced the kind of loss that shatters their personal world. John and I were twin spirits, soul mates, partners.
Recognizing the relentless march of death in his body, John had asked of me one day, “Do you have a plan? This isn’t stopping!” We had our farm in North Dakota to run, cattle to feed, rhythms of life and soil and plants to sustain.
Yet I answered, “No, I don’t have a plan. My only plan is to pray.”
The writing of Forever Hopeful: A Wife’s Story of Winter unfolded during the winter following John’s death as I wrestled to singlehandedly reconstruct a way of life built by and for two. I struggled to make spiritual sense out of death. And I prayed.
And so the days have passed. Indeed, I have found that grief has its fertile ground. From it sprout new tendrils of life, borrowing the best of the past to bless the present. It grows its own kind of creativity. It strengthens, sharpens, clarifies. Grief in time finds a way to brew its own comfort.
Yet if grief indeed grows its own gifts, I saw no trace of these at the start of my journey through loss. It is my hope that those walking a similar path may find a traveling companion within the pages of Forever Hopeful.
From the Book
It was as if it was the end of the day, and he had simply unhitched the team from the wagon, walked them home and after removing the horses’ harnesses, had come into the house and taken off his gloves. There was in his language a quiet word spoken here and there suggesting he had come to understand that his season of life and work upon the earth had finished, had run its natural course; that he had been allotted a set amount of time, and it had indeed been his “time” to live, a glorious time indeed! But one that necessarily must now come to a close.
He had at last finished his day’s work.
From a Reader
“Raylene Frankhauser Nickel’s Forever Hopeful: A Wife’s Story of Winter is a touching memoir of love and loss. It offers validation, consolation, and most importantly hope, to those in the cold winter of grief.”
The College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, New York;
Senior Consultant, the Hospice Foundation of America
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