Today we have the honor of having Mary Potter Kenyon with us. Let’s greet her. I find her to be a a very interesting woman/.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Manchester, Iowa, with three of my eight children. In December of 2013 I became the Director of the Winthrop Public Library.
Your new book is being released shortly before the holiday season begins, and you mention several times the difficulty of facing holidays without your spouse in your book. Was the timing of this release part of a marketing strategy?
No, it was purely coincidental, though if you read my book, you know I don’t really believe in coincidences. Traditionally, Thanksgiving has marked the beginning of the “holiday season” but the first holiday I faced after the death of my husband was Easter. When my eight-year-old daughter decorated her usual “Daddy” egg, writing his name on it with a wax crayon, just as she always had, I lost it. I had to leave my sister’s house where we were decorating eggs. I headed straight to the cemetery and my husband’s grave. Holidays and anniversaries are particularly difficult for those who are grieving. The absence of the loved one is felt even more keenly on such days.
What else have you written?
I’ve written for newspapers, magazines and anthologies for over twenty-five years and currently write a weekly couponing column for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald newspaper. An essay of mine exploring the relationship between grief and creativity was featured in the January/February issue of “Poet & Writer’s” magazine and I had several devotions published in the 2013 NIV “Hope in the Mourning” Zondervan grief Bible. My books “Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America’s Extreme Obsession” and “Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage” were published by Familius in 2013 and early 2014.
You’ve started doing public speaking on this topic. Tell us about that.
I spoke about finding hope in the darkness of loss at a church in Coralville in April and the response to that speech was humbling. So many people needed to hear the message I share in my own journey of grief, that there is hope in the dark path of loss. “Refined By Fire” is as much about faith as it is about grief. I stumbled and fell on the path of darkness called grief, but the words of other authors who had gone down the road before me lifted me, as did the Bible, prayer, and even studying the science of grief. Surely we humans are designed to withstand loss, because we will all face it at some point in our lives. Like the authors whose words I read: C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, and Joan Didion, my book can help someone who is grieving. I also feel honored to be able to speak about my beloved David and grandson Jacob, to share their story in my book and public speaking.
Thank you for stopping by. I look forward to reading more of your works.