September Vaudrey coming to Dubuque, Iowa


colors of goodbye
“This book is beautifully written. I have to admit, having a 19-year-old artist daughter myself, I spent the majority of time reading this book with tears streaming down my face. I even sobbed through a couple sections. That said, I’ve been through tremendous loss myself, so it was a cathartic read. Though I’ve never lost a child, reading Vaudrey’s story helped me understand my daughter’s terrible loss. We all loved our Jacob, but for a mother to lose her child is heart-rending. Still, Vaudrey manages to give hope and light to a topic that needs to be talked about. Her daughter Katie was a beautiful soul, and her mother does her and the topic of the loss of a child justice.”- from my June 13, 2016 Goodreads review

The author, September Vaudrey, will be speaking Friday, November 2, on “Boulders Leave Craters,” as part of the Heal Your Grief retreat at Shalom Spirituality Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Those who wish to hear her speak do not need to sign up for the entire retreat weekend, but can pick and choose from a roster of speakers and workshops. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite Heal Your Grief. 

Book Review: And Still She Laughs

Whenever I’m facing some big projects, it helps to clean my office, giving me the illusion of being organized, and lulling me into the belief that I might actually be able to accomplish everything. As part of that cleaning project this morning, I’d intended on simply relocating And Still She Laughs from my to-read pile on the floor to a nearby shelf.

Then I opened it.

still she laughs

“The days and weeks following Daisy’s earthly departure were of a strange sort. Hovering in our home was an empty feeling, much like when a door slams shut in your face. You feel the rush of air forcing your hair back for a brief moment, then a wall directly in front of you, so close up that everything else is out of focus. We sat around that first day, drinking coffee and looking about the room, blinking for lack of recognition of our surroundings.”

Four years ago, on August 19, 2013, my daughter Elizabeth faced what this mother faced in February of that same year, the death of a child.

It boggles my mind now; that for most of that July, and part of August, I’d get up in the middle of the night, step into a pair of flip-flops, and drive down the block to see if the lights were on at my daughter’s house. See if she needed me. I slept with the phone near my bed. But for some reason, the morning Jacob died, I’d forgotten. I wasn’t there when the funeral home director tenderly carried Jacob’s body out of house.

Reading Kate Merrick’s story about the death of her daughter Daisy, gave me a glimpse into the unfathomable pain my daughter and son-in-law have lived with since that morning. Like the author, my daughter blogged her way through Jacob’s cancer and made a Facebook Page, “Jacob’s Ladder” to keep people updated. Over 4000 people followed Jacob’s cancer journey, which began in December 2010. When I re-read my daughter’s posts from that period of time, I’m blown away by her strength and faith, just as I am by this author’s.  They would be such good friends if they were to meet, which someday they will, though maybe not here on earth. Two mothers with their eyes on Heaven.

I can only imagine the reunion; Kate and her daughter Daisy, Elizabeth and Jacob. Can’t you imagine the joy in their faces?  You can, when you read this book.

“I can close my eyes and feel Daisy’s warm delicate hand in mine. I feel her velvety hair right underneath my chin, the way I held her on my lap thousands of times. I hold my breath expectantly, certain of her existence, of her aliveness in a place I cannot see. I have my foot lifted, arms out- my stance ready to enter into this wonderful place and catch her at any moment.” (page 187)

That’s faith. Faith means we can grieve, but not without hope. And Still She Laughs is full of hope. You can read more about the author at