18 August 2013

Interview with Darlene Franklin - Surviving Disability and Suicide of a Loved One


Darlene Franklin
Powerful Interview with Darlene Franklin

Darlene Franklin is the author of Golden Dreams (now on preorder, releasing September 1st) and of more than 20 titles, including the three books in her current series, Maple Notch Dreams.

Darlene, welcome to Overcoming With God.  We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers. 


Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? (transparency appreciated!)
I have had a lifetime of difficult things, including growing up with a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and then raising a daughter with the same diagnosis. And yes, I have wondered if I also suffer from it, but I’ve never been told so. Right now is another difficult time. I’ve had to move into a nursing home, which has meant giving up 90% of things I’ve accumulated throughout my life. I’m in daily (hourly?) pain. I have had to accept limitations.

But by far the hardest event I’ve had to overcome was my daughter’s suicide, five years ago. In fact, I have theorized that earlier difficulties made me strong enough to survive the worst parent’s fear.
So I guess that was the first step in overcoming: toughening up my faith muscles through career disappointment, an abusive stepfather, a broken marriage, my son’s troubled teen years, and so on. Everything served to give me a rock solid confidence that God loved me. Period. That He loved my daughter. Period. And everything else, all the grief and anger and numbness, couldn’t drag me under that foundation.

How appropriate that I am writing about overcoming today. Because just this evening, I wrote a devotional about overcoming, based on Romans 8:35-37.  The New Living Translation saw we have overwhelming victory despite all the terrible things that happen. How does suicide equal to victory, let alone stomping on the enemy?

Well, of course, it doesn’t. If someone had dared to suggest that five years ago, I would have exploded.

Perhaps the victory comes in how we respond. How did I survive?

Nothing new, but only magnified coping strategies already in place. I struggled with sleep. I dreamed and awoke to the reality of the empty bunk above my own. I read, nonfiction now instead of my usual mysteries. books.  Joni Woelfel’s book, Meditations for Survivors of Suicide, made a huge difference. I have since had a piece about my daughter published in the book Too Soon to Say Goodbye. People who had suffered a similar loss reached out to me. I’m a writer, so I wrote; my blog grew out of that experience. I let music flow through me and over me, singing with the choir when I could, even if it meant crying in front of the congregation.

Gradually I returned to a normal routine. I worked reduced hours, thanks to an understanding boss. My mother and I dined out, one by one returning to the places we had visited with Jolene. We buried her ashes. We learned to laugh again.

And to top it all off? God gave me an amazing, life-affirming gift: my granddaughter Jordan was conceived at the time my daughter died. She was and is life from life.

Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?  (Thank you – we offer this information to our readers with difficulty reading books in regular print format.)
Unfortunately, I don’t have any audio books. I do have one book in large print: Beacon of Life.
Golden Dreams by Darlene Franklin

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation
My hero in Golden Dreams won the U.S. National Figure Skating championships and was headed for the 1928 Olympics—until he had a career-ending injury. Physical disabilities often lead to emotional distress. Losing your dreams for the future is a horrible experience.  Believe me, I am struggling with that right now, as I’ve lost a lot of independence. I put most of my characters through the wringer. They lose parents or children. (One of them was even lynched.) They lose their homes or a way of life. I have a number of heroes who fought in various wars, and returned home with internal and external scars. I find their internal struggles more motivating then external problems.

Two books deliberately take characters through a deep grieving process to an acceptance: Romanian Rhapsody, where the hero loses wife and child in childbirth; and A Ranger’s Trail, where the heroine’s husband was lynched, and the murderers never brought to account.

Thank you Darlene for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!


Darlene's Blogs: 

Sales links:

Giveaway: Winner's choice of any of Darlene's books in paperback or ebook as available (ebook only for international winner.)  If you are an OWG follower put OWG.  Answer this question: Do you know of anyone who has been affected by suicide in their family or attempted suicide? Do you have any questions for Darlene about going through this tragedy?

48 comments:

  1. DARLENE, thank you for being with us on OWG this week and for sharing your heart with us. I am so sorry for your loss and can't even begin to imagine what that had to have been like for you. You are such a courageous woman---I don't know that I could have kept on writing given the heartbreaking circumstances you have and are still going through. Prayers for you, dear lady.

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    1. Diana, writing helped keep me sane! I could escape into a world I controlled, where wrongs were righted.

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  2. OWG follower

    I had a cousin commit suicide about twenty years ago and still to this day I look for a reason. My mom had seen him a day or two before he did it and said that he was the happiest she'd seen him in a long time. I've heard that if someone is going to commit suicide they are happiest before it's done because they've made that decision. It is just so hard on the surviving family and friends, but if they felt they had no other solution the life must have been a lot harder for them than we realized.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Wendy, I spoke to Jolene the morning that she died. We were planning her birthday party. I had no idea she was in that space. So interesting to here about your cousin.

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  3. Darlene,

    I am so sorry for the loss and heartache you have suffered. I will pray for your comfort from the pain you are experiencing now. Thank you for sharing your story and for continuing to write, as it is a blessing to others.

    OWG follower,

    Britney Adams
    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. Britney, thanks for the prayers. Today has been especially bad for pain.

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  4. I had a first cousin that committed suicide and her Dad had a major stroke. After rehab, he started going to church. He passed away with lung cancer almost two years ago. Hopefully there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

    OWG Follower

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    1. Barbara, what a terrible experience for your family. It sounds like your uncle had a series of health issues similar to what I've been going through. But there is light. I can testify to that.

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  5. I had a brother-in-law commit suicide in AZ. many years ago. It leaves an open wound in the hearts of family. You never stop wondering why this happened. He was from a christian family and had accepted the LORD into his heart. He never left a note. Some people there said he had parked his car on a road that usually had cars coming along the road he was on. He had piped the exhaust into the car. They think he was having problems and maybe tho't someone would check on him before it was too late. It is something you never forget. I would love to win one of Darlene's books. Thanks for a chance. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. Oh Maxie, I am so sorry you went through this. How heart breaking.

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    2. Oh, Maxie. I've described it as having your heart ripped in half until a scar forms. This I can say: I know that as Jolene was dying, Jesus was reaching His arms, ready to welcome her home and ease the tears and pain. I'm sure the same was true for your brother-in-law.

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  6. Oh my. I forgot to say I am definitely a follower of this OWG blog. Maxie

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    1. It seems like only a short time ago you were our wonderful 200th Follower and now we just had our 300th Follower, Maxie--can you believe it? And you are so special to us!!! Hugs!!!

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  7. Darlene my heart goes out to you. As a Mother I can only imagine the pain.

    OWG

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Mary, I have tried the game of what could be worse (than a child's suicide.) I came up with a few scenarios--but it is a terrible experience that no parent should ever experience.

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  8. Thanks for your inspiring interview, Darlene. Only someone who has lost a child can truly know the feelings of grief you have experienced - although I have experienced some of the problems you have, I haven't lost a child. But, I am praying for relief from your physical pain & peace for your mental pain. Thank you for continuing to write books that bless us, your readers. So glad writing offers a release for you, as well as music (music always speaks peace to my soul).

    I don't personally know of anyone with suicide in their family, however - my best friend suffers from a manic depressive disorder & has attempted suicide several times thru the years. Thankfully, the last time was quite a few years ago, & she is better able to handle her illness now.

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

    OWG

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    1. Bonnie, I'm glad that your friend has a handle on her illness. Another music lover--it comforts me when I can't find words.

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  9. We have a family in our church whose granddaughter committed suicide when she was a teenager, then her sister who found her attempted it also. I can't imagine how horrible it must have been for their family. I'm so sorry about your daughter. OWG shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. That definitely qualifies as a "what can be worse?" situation. Only God's grace gets you through times like that,

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  10. Darlene, I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your touching testimony with us.

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    1. You are welcome, Jennifer. I'm glad it has helped you.

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  11. Oh Darlene, I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine how you must have felt when your daughter committed suicide. I know the grief of losing a child to health problems and my heart aches for your loss. To face where you are now with your physical limitations, I pray that God will restore your body. Thank you for opening your life and encouraging us through your testimony.

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    1. Anne, it sounds like we have quite a bit in common. Thanks for sharing yourself with me.

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  12. DARLENE what a powerful testimony you have! You have been through so much and are continuing to battle health issues but your faith in GOD has not wavered. There are many people today that haven't gone through near as much as you and they turn their back on Him. You are a blessing and I pray that GOD will strengthen your body that you may continue to encourage and bless others with your testimony and your wonderful books. Thank you for being with us on OWG this week!

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    1. I forgot to answer the question; my Paternal Grandfather committed suicide. I never knew him as it was many years before I was born when he did it. I do remember as a child waking up one morning hearing my dad praying that he would not do like his father, I found out later he had his gun out and was tempted to shoot himself. Thank God he decided to kneel in prayer instead.

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    2. Oh, Teresa, how difficult for your family. As we have seen here, a lot of people have been touched by suicide, and it's awful.

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  13. Darlene, a really humbling testimony. Someone told me life is tough, but God is tougher. You've surely proven that.

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    1. Heather, one of my favorite quotes comes from Corrie Ten Boom: There is no pit so deeper that God's love is not deeper still.

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  14. My niece Thea Cooper Bostwick had to go through a emotional healing when her father commit suicide . She was just out of High School when it happen .She did struggle for years concerning it up until a year or so a go and she gave it to her Heavenly Father and now she has a peace that only God can give ,Blessings ,Dana
    Awesome job Darlene !!

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    1. Dana, so that was your brother-in-law? I'm glad to hear God has brought healing.

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  15. Thanks for sharing Darlene.

    I haven't lost someone close to me by suicide, but did lose a sister tragically in a drunk driving accident. It was very difficult to go through especially for my Mom. Very rarely does a day go by even now years later where I don't think of my sister and wonder what her life would be like now if she were still with us...

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Oh, my, yes. One of the things I've realized is that Jolene is forever stuck in my mind as 23. She would have been 30 next March; but I will never get to know my 30 year old daughter.

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  16. I can't say I know of anyone personally that suicide has affected

    thanks for chance to win

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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    1. I am glad to hear you have been spared that particular heartache.

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  17. I don't anyone personally that suicide has affected. Would love to win. angelachesnut246@gmail.com

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  18. I've read several of Darlene's books and really enjoyed them. I admire Darlene for continuing to be productive even though she has been through many challenges. I have fibromyalgia and understand about being in pain. Keep up the good work Darlene.

    Deborah Malone
    "Death in Dahlonega"
    "Murder in Marietta"

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    1. hi Debbie! Fibromyalgia is so difficult, from what I've heard.

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  19. DARLENE, thank you so much for sharing your story. You are one courageous woman and I so admire your strength and faith, and I'm SO glad you have that assurance of God's love for you. His love goes deeper than we can ever imagine, but sometimes we doubt His love... I know I have in the past, but not since He gave me a revelation of His love. God bless you, and I pray that your experiences will continue to reach out to help others going through similar heartbreaking trials. Will keep you in my prayers. God Bless You!

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    1. Growing to know God's love was a process--but such a blessing!

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  20. Thank you, Darlene, for sharing your moving testimony with us. I can't begin to imagine what life has been for you since your daughter's suicide. So good to read how you keep your eyes on the Lord - the only One who can help us through times like that. I will pray for you now - also that you will adjust to life in the nursing home.

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    1. Thanks for your prayers, Marian. Today has been more pain-filled than usual and I can always use the encouragement.

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  21. Darlene, I am always moved when I hear you share about your family. Your testimony to God's grace through your difficulties is beautiful. {{{hugs}}}

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  22. My! You have really been through the ringer Darlene! The closest I was to someone who committed suicide was a 13 yr. old girl who was a friend of my daughter's. She hung herself with the cord from the mini-blinds, & a psychologist friend of the family said he thought that she was expecting to be found, rather than being successful--more of a cry of help, but the cord cut off her carotid artery and she died with-in minutes. this sent my daughter into a downward spiral of skipping school, dabbling in drugs and running away, from age 13 on. She is now 30+ and pretty stable now, but it was a very rough time for our family.

    Then a few yrs later we had 2 of our other kids friends lose family members to suicide (1 a father & the other a grandmother). The grandmother had been going through a horrible, painful, terminal illness and just decided she couldn't endure any longer, and the the father (these were two different families) had gone through a financial business failure & decided that his family would be better off if he was gone, which was far from the truth. He jumped off a bridge and his body was never found (he was seen jumping by a witness) & because it was suicide his family was not able to receive life insurance money, so financially they were just as bad, if not worse, AND they no longer had their father/husband/grandfather in their life. This was a man of God who would do anything to help someone hurting in his church, but seemed unable to ask for help for himself & his family. Suicide is such a difficult thing for everyone who is left behind, and I can't even imagine the heartache of losing your child in this way. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing with everyone & I'm glad that you were able to write as a part of your healing. I have not yet read any of your books, but I'm sure that I would find a LOT of emotion within your books and look forward to reading them. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of them.
    Vicki
    vmarney@hotmail.com

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  23. Vicki, your kids had to live with suicide in a way few experience. It's horrible for my son, living with his sister's death. The niece and nephew she'll never meet. The only person who had experienced so much of his early life with him--gone. Just saying, I can understand it would have been for your daughter.

    Suicide is rarely expected (If it was, we would intervene, after all). It's hard to let go; the murder victim is also the murderer, in a sense, we're angry and grieving at the same time.

    Okay, I'll get off my high horse.

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  24. One thing I would say to anyone dealing with a family member who has to deal with the loss of a friend or family member, lost to suicide (especially if young) would be to watch them very carefully. In the case of our 13 yr. old, we were dealing with some rebelliousness from her older sister at the time and did not notice that the 13 yr. old was experiencing depression over her friend, until one day she left a note with a friend saying "maybe she would be better off if she was with her friend who had committed suicide" and then she went & hid in the girls bathroom at the school. I received a call from the school telling me what she had done and that they didn't know where she had gone--later finding her hiding in the bathroom. We seeked counseling at that point, (from the Christian psychologist friend of the other girls family, but he decided that she did not really mean she was suicidal, & we could not afford his cost, so we ended the counseling after only one session & she continued her downward spiral through the rest of her teen years. She is not living for the the Lord, but seems to be mostly stable & happily married at this time.

    Suicide is something that we need to stress to people is NOT the answer to their problems and will cause so much pain and heartache for those left behind. Anyone thinking about it, needs to think about their loved ones and seek help immediately and if you suspect someone is even thinking about it, take them seriously! As my daughter's young friend demonstrated--sometimes thinking about it, can end up resulting in a heartbreaking tragedy.

    OK, no I'm off my soap box as well... ;-)

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  25. Yes, what you said is very true. In my case, Jolene had mentioned suicide before, and we made pacts where she promised she would call first, etc. But on the day that it happened, she had talked to me (to plan her birthday party), her boyfriend, and even the cops had been there. If there had been any signs this was her immediate, overwhelming, depression and suicidal, one of us would have responded. The police are required to bring a person at risk to the hospital: a danger to themselves or others. All the therapy and support in the world didn't "save" her. In many other cases, it's the lifeline most needed.

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