Newtown Families Find Comfort In Fresno Woman's Book
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) —
"If we can help each other, then maybe our children's loss will not be in vain," Armen Bacon said.
Bacon never planned on writing a book about losing a child.
No one does.
But in 2004, the sudden death of her 22-year-old son, Alex, taught her life doesn't always turn out how you plan it.
"It's the loneliest journey you'll ever travel. I equate to being hijacked and crash landing in a foreign country without a passport or luggage. That's what it feels like," she said.
But four years later, Armen learned she wasn't in that foreign country alone.
"I received a call out of the clear blue from a colleague at Fresno State, saying that a faculty members' daughter had died on Christmas day. No one knew what to do for her. They asked me if I would reach out," Bacon said.
That woman, Nancy Miller, soon became like family to Armen.
The two decided to write down their experiences, every day for a year, about the pain only a parent who has been there can understand.
"Nobody talks about grief. So we created an imaginary country where we could lift that veil of darkness and we could talk about the experience and be honest with each other and share our inner-most thoughts," she said.
Those inner-most thoughts turned into a book. "Griefland" was released last September, just three months before the horrific tragedy in Newtown.
Someone who recently read "Griefland" felt the need to do something.
"In the correspondence I've seen, (he) said oh my goodness, what are these families going to do once the teddy bears and the vigils and the funerals are behind them," Bacon said.
So the anonymous donor set out to buy $500 worth of Bacon and Miller's books to send to the Newtown parents.
When the publisher heard about it, it donated those books instead.
Now that money is going toward the "Books Heal Hearts" program at the Newtown library.
"We're just so appreciative of the generosity of this individual who decided to share this gift with the families. And if it helps one person, than it will have done its job," she said.
Armen says the donor's gesture reminded her once again that grief splits us apart, but it also allows the human heart to be exposed.
She says the best thing those of us here can do to help the people in Newtown is to love the children in our own community.
If you'd like to get your hands on the book, you can visit the website, www.griefland.com.