It was 3:12 a.m. when Cindy Curtis Johnson and her husband, Glenn, got the knock on their front door that every parent dreads: their son, Brandon, was dead. Brandon died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound only hours after he and Cindy had what she describes as a wonderful conversation on the phone. In the days and months that followed, Cindy was forced to reexamine everything in her life: her experiences, her relationships, her assumptions about God’s plans for her, and her dreams for the future.
In this searingly honest book, Cindy reveals how Brandon’s death has helped her make sense of her life, from being teased by classmates when she was a child to her difficult relationship with her mother-in-law. With God’s help, she has also found the courage to face the darkest feelings, the ones we try to avoid, such as guilt—why didn’t she insist that Brandon see a therapist?—and anger—where were her friends and family members when she needed them most?
As a professional, Cindy knows that this process can empower anyone suffering from loss. She doesn’t stop there, though. She not only illuminates a path that will help you understand tragedy’s place in your life, but also encourages you to use this time to think seriously and specifically about the person you want to become now. Join Cindy on her journey of healing and hope as you identify God’s plan for you.
Dwelling on difficulties and tragedies could consume us if we allow. I hope you, like me, choose a different path. This life is so short. It would be a shame to miss it because you can’t move past a tragic event.
We certainly have to allow ourselves to experience grief but we don’t have to let it consume us. It is important to work through the stages. It is also important that we identify who we want to become.
I know I want to be a person who truly makes a positive difference in the lives of everyone who knows me or comes into contact with me. I don’t want to be remembered as that poor mother whose son completed suicide! I want to be remembered as a person who turned the most tragic event in her life into hope for herself and others.
I want my grandson to know me as a happy person, not a grieving person. I want my daughter to know that she is just as important to me as her brother. I don’t want her to feel that I focus so much on his death that I forget to concentrate on her life.
Life can be incredibly difficult at times. It can also be very rewarding. I know I will miss my son every day of my life but I also know how incredibly lucky I was to have had him in my life for 20 years.
I am excited about my future. I know that I will someday be reunited with Brandon in Heaven. Until that day, I will remain hopeful for myself and my family’s future.
I believe we can make a conscious decision to be hopeful despite difficulties and tragedies in our lives. I know God, not me is in control. I also know I can decide how I react to the negative and positive events in my life.
I want to continue to educate others regarding suicide prevention but that is simply no longer enough for me. In addition to that, I want to inspire anyone who has suffered a tragedy to redirect their pain into hope for a bright and productive future.
I will make a positive difference. I will be the best person I can possibly be. I will allow God to direct my path. I will follow that path. It is my sincere desire that you will do the same.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
A native of Fayetteville, Tennessee, Cindy Curtis Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and works as a community education director for a behavioral hospital in Clarksville. Since her son’s death, she has focused on helping others cope with tragedy. She gives presentations on mental health issues, including suicide prevention.
I imagine that the author never thought that in her training to be a social worker she would one day have to call on those skills for herself and her faith in God to deal with the suicide of her son. You hear all the time, "A parent should not endure the loss of their child." This parent did and continues to endure the loss. But, in the process of having her life turned upside-down, her faith has grown, her sense of spirituality has grown, and her relationship with family and friends has grown. This incredible book comes from the heart of Cindy Johnson. If you ever have the opportunity to meet her, then I encourage you to do.
This is an empowering book from a very personal perspective. I salute the author for being so intimate as one who is a survivor of loss by suicide. It was insightful, challenging, informative and painful at times. Within the past two years I have lost a brother to suicide & my father from a heart attack, my life as I knew it will never be the same. I found the questions at the end of each chapter with blank pages to journal my thoughts & feelings especially helpful and healing. Many wounds of hurt & anger were allowed to come to surface which I found surprisingly therapeutic and freeing to recognize and acknowledge. I believe that any person in the grieving process will find beneficial and practical help with Biblically based encouragement for their hearts. It takes the reader through the process and stages of grieving and is an excellent resource for helping you see life with greater clarity. It enables you to focus on letting go of trivial stuff we so often stress about and start appreciating the life we are given. I have purchased several more copies to share with family members & one for my church library.