16 February 2015

Carla Olson Gade -- Overcoming Grief


In my novella "Proving Up” in The Homestead Brides Collection, my hero and heroine each have experiences with grief. Elsa has lost her husband and her loss propels her into action. Although she is lonely, she will not forsake his dream and lose the homestead that they have worked so hard to keep. She also has a younger brother and brother-in-law she is responsible for and wishes to see educated.

Nils’ grief is a different sort. It is an unrelenting longing for an absent wife who abandoned life on the prairie, leaving him with unresolved heartache. His solution is to continue to cultivate his claim in the hopes that someday he will be rewarded with her love and companionship. When he is confronted with the permanence of his unrealized hope, grief ensues again.

Elsa and Nils’s circumstances are vastly different from one another, but as they develop a relationship an empathetic bond is formed. It is God’s providence that they become friends, especially in such a time and place where people were so isolated. Homesteads were miles from one another and communities were just beginning to develop. But isn’t that how grief is, isolating?

At least that is how I have felt over the past several years. Just a year ago on Valentine’s Day, I buried my father and only three years before that my step-father died from the same disease. During my life I have also experienced the grief of lost relationships, a type of grieving for the living. That too is a severe loss, not comparable to death, but a death of a relationship nonetheless.
At first my grief felt very isolating. Like I was on my own remote homestead miles away from anyone who understood what I was feeling or going through. That feeling of isolation added to my grief.

The isolation was like the broken blade of a prairie windmill. A windmill that once produced energy, suddenly halted.
Last year I attended a grief support group at my church called GriefShare. One thing that I learned that really helped me was the acknowledgement that each loss is unique because our relationship to that person is unique. How true that is. My own personal grief was different than others because of the unique dynamics of my own relationship with my lost loved one. But although my grieving is unique, it needn’t isolate me, unless I let it.

Along with grief comes change. But adapting to that change and accepting that things are now different makes the loss more real, and therefore, we are sometimes resistant to it. We refuse to repair the broken blade through acceptance because it is too painful. Yet in reality, the winds of acceptance allow us to heal. Grief takes its own time, but we needn’t bear it alone. When we allow others to share in our experience of loss, we discover life again.

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Have you experienced a season of grief? Did you find yourself pulling away from others or reaching out?
Author Carla Olson Gade
“Proving Up” by Carla Olson Gade from The Homestead Brides Collection (Barbour)

Swedeberg, Nebraska, 1886
A young Swedish widow applies her scientific theories to growing trees on the barren Great Plains intruding on a handsome homesteader’s hard work and experience. Will their dreams come to ruin or will love prove their success?

The Homestead Brides Collection can be ordered here: http://tinyurl.com/provingup


Native New Englander Carla Olson Gade writes adventures of the heart with historical roots from her home amid the rustic landscapes of Maine. With seven books in print, she is always imaging more stories and enjoys bringing her tales to life with historically authentic settings and characters. An avid reader, amateur genealogist, photographer, and house plan hobbyist, Carla’s great love (next to her family) is historical research. Though you might find her tromping around an abandoned homestead, an old fort, or interviewing a docent at a historical museum, it’s easier to connect with her online at carlaolsongade.com.

https://www.facebook.com/CarlaOlsonGade
http://carlaolsongade.com



GIVEAWAY:  I’m giving away one copy of The Homestead Brides Collection autographed by all nine contributing authors. To enter please leave a comment.

45 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. The novella looks interesting. I'm excited to read it!

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  2. Really looking forward to reading this novella. Grief is all around us. I have a friend who just lost her brother, my mom is slowly dying from Alzheimer's, and three of my friends have lost their husbands this year. I love the line above. . . healing comes in the "adapting to change" . . . grief takes it's own time. So sorry for your loss but so thankful for His comfort! Thanks for the opportunity to win it!

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    1. Yes, Chris, I am thankful for His comfort too, even in the journey of illness. Sorry to hear you have had so much loss around you and for the road you are traveling with your mother's Alzheimer's. My step-mother also has Alzheimers and I know how difficult it can be and challenging for the caregiver. Bless you!

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  3. I have really been looking forward to reading this nivel, & would love to win a copy - thanks so much!

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    1. Sharon, I do hope you'll have a chance to read my book!

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  4. The most painful actual deaths in my life have probably been those of my 4 grandparents. However, years ago - before I yielded control of my life to God - I had numerous broken relationships, with male friends, in which I grieved deeply and pulled away from everyone I knew. The aloneness, you described, was nearly unbearable - feeling these relationships were my source of happiness only added to the pain. It is when I yielded my life to Him that I found the happiness I had sought and the confirmation that He and His love, alone, were all I needed for true happiness and that feeling of completeness.

    Thank you for your testimony and beautiful post, Carla!! I'm looking forward to reading "Proving Up" and the stories from the other authors in "The Homestead Brides Collection!!"

    Shared post!!

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    1. Oh, Bonnie, what agony that must have been to experience such pain without the Lord at your side. How often, even with Christ, we put all our longings into a relationship with another rather that with God. The result is surely disappointment and unmet desires. I'm so glad you met the Lover of Your Soul.

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  5. Grieving is indeed personal. .we need to do it our own way to heal... we learn how to function after a loss of a love by being with the loves we still have. Thank you for the chance to win a great prize !!! Rosemary

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    1. So true, Rosemary. We are the only ones who can go through it...no one else can do the job for us. But how much better to have a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, an listening heart to help bear our pain.

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  6. Would love to win a copy to read please .Thank you for a chance to win . Blessings,DanaGirl

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    1. Thank you, DanaGirl. Appreciate your dropping by!

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  7. Absolutely love romance books from this era and am looking forward to reading it! By the way, William Levy, the actor who resembles your hero, Thomas Jeffries, can be seen on the big screen. Prior to that his work has been as a model, acting on telenovelas, and acting on a cable series. = )

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    1. I'm glad to hear of another historical fiction fan! There may be a little mix up on the characters as Nils Svensson was inspired by Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.

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  8. We all experience grief and deal with in different ways. My biggest loss was my grandmother 12 years ago who was more like a mother to me . I still miss her terribly but think of the happy memories we had together when I think of her. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy as I would love to read this.

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  9. I have been looking forward to reading this collection of fine works by some amazing authors. Thank you for the chance.

    I very recently had a break up with my boyfriend that was very devastating to me. My grief was very real and I pulled away from family and friends and isolated myself thinking I could bear the hurt alone. I'm so grateful that I have a wonderful friend in your very own Bonnie Roof who reached out to me during my grief and loneliness to encourage me and lift my spirits through her own experiences, blog posts and prayers. She has been a huge Blessing to me and I love her dearly. Today I'm happy to report that my boyfriend and I worked out our differences and I give God the glory. I am also so thankful for the numerous prayers because I know prayer works.

    Thank you for sharing your story on grief. It helped me and I know it will help others. Bless you and authors like you that are so open about their own personal experiences.

    Blessings,
    Wanda

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    1. Wanda, I'm touched that you feel I've been an encouragement to you. You have been an encourager, yourself, to so many online friends - including me. We all need encouragement - from time to time - one of the reasons God has placed us here is to be helpmeets for each other. I'm thrilled you're feeling better and yes, prayer does work - I'm a living example. Love you too, my friend!!

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    2. What a blessing to hear this real life example of how reaching out during such heartache has helped ease your pain. Wanda, I'm sorry that you had that painful experience with your boyfriend and rejoice with you that things worked out. I do hope you are stronger and that the relationship is also stronger, inspite of it all. Remember, we can love fully, but to fully love means putting Christ first in the relationship.

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  10. Never forget what a Blessing you are Miss Bonnie! Hugs!!

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  11. Grief is indeed isolating. Sounds like a good story and novella collection. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. And it is isolating, but we must remember not to believe the lie that no one understands. No one knows exactly what we feel, but we can benefit from companionship if we choose to.

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  12. What LOVELY giveaway! I've been REALLY WANTING to read one of these collections and this one in particular! I LOVE Matthew 5:4 also! It is one of my favorites and always brings great peace!

    Many Blessings, Amada (pronouncecd: a.m.a.th.a)
    amada_chavezATyahooDOTcom

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    1. It is a wonderful promise, Amada. Peace, indeed!

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  13. People grieve in different ways and it is a heartbreaking thing to go through.I am looking forward to reading these stories,thanks for the chance to win it.This is an awesome giveaway.Thanks for sharing

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    1. You're welcome, Jackie. I hope you enjoy the stories!

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  14. I am definitely going to check out your stories. It's a time dear to my heart. My next novella (April 17th) with Prism, Acres of Dreams, is a homesteading story.

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    1. Thank you, Sharon. Those homesteaders sure had a lot of fortitude, didn't they? Such fun to research. Thanks for stopping by. I'll have to check out your novella, too.

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  15. I would love to read this book.. I'd enjoy seeing how they lived on the Nebraska prairie as my family settled here and the family homestead is still in the family in SW Nebr. :)
    dkstevensneAToutlookD OtCoM

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    1. That's fascinating, Deanna! What a great piece of family history.

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  16. Grief is a very personal journey and no two people grieve the same. And there are so many different things to grieve. I love homesteading books

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    1. It sounds like you understand this too well. Blessings to you, Jan!

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  17. I can't wait to read your story. I just completed my first session of Griefshare. I lost my dear husband 5 years ago, my brother 3 years ago, and my mother in December. I have learned a lot, but still have a lot left to learn. This journey is not easy, but thank God I have him by my side. Hugs!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. So glad to hear you have joined GriefShare. I love the format there. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband, brother, and mother. That is so much to bear. But you will walk on...for them. God is with you indeed!

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  18. Thank you so much for being with us this week, CARLA, and for sharing your heart. I am still grieving over the loss of my mom and it has been almost 5 yrs. Of course it has gotten easier, but it never really goes away. I'm so very sorry for your loss, but I know you keep busy and that helps. A lot!

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    1. Yes, keeping busy does help, but at first I was pretty paralyzed. Didn't help that I came down with the flu right after the funeral! I think we need to be careful not to be too busy and avoid facing our loss. Some do that. As you know, the loss never goes away but we carry precious memories in our hearts forever. Thanks so much for having me here. It was a blessing to share.

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  19. I just tried and entered here but I don't see my comment. I would so love to win this book and read about the interesting way that grief is dealed with. I also love reading a new author's book. Thanks for this opportunity. I am trying to enter again. flowersmarylou85(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Your comment came through, Mary Lou. Inhooe you will get the chance to read my Novella in this wonderful collection.

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  20. Grieving is a very personal experience.

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    1. It certainly is, Mary. Blessings to you. Thanks for visiting.

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  21. Hi to my sweet OWG girls. Thanks for having Carla for your guest. I know this loss of loved ones very well. I lost my husband in 1977 just before my birthday and buried him on my birthday, and we lost a baby before it was born. I come from a large family of 8 siblings and of course our parents made 10. It was a wonderful Christian home. Our first loss in the immediate family was the sister next youngest to me. We were so close. She had cancer and died at 47. Way too young. Now I have lost all except 2 brothers and the youngest is in a VA Nursing home with incurable cancer and Hospice care. The oldest was in WW ll and now near 90. will be in June. So soon there will just be the two of us. Of course there has been the loss of brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews. I turned to my family and to friends. But if I hadn't had GOD to carry me through would have been much harder. But I agree it is extra hard on Holidays. I would love to have Carla's book. Thanks Carrie for the chance. GOD bless you all. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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    1. Dear Maxie, What incredible loss you have endured. I appreciate you sharing your story. It must be so difficult to see so many family members go. I'm glad that you've had the comfort and help of God to get you through. That is a true testimony of His faithfulness.

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  22. Blessings to you Carla and welcome to OWG from moi as well! Thank you so much for sharing a brief excerpt of your journey and what helped. I loved the windmill analogy...Sometimes the grief can really be so paralyzing and you feel so broken, but as you say, time... and the painful acceptance of new seasons, can definitely help with the healing.
    When my dad passed away, I feel like our mother and the family were spared from from a more constricting grief because the Lord had brought him back from the very brink of death a good few years earlier. We were in a way, much more prepared. The loss I've suffered from some still living was for me, a much more devastating pain that lasted way too long. I finally reached that acceptance you spoke of, and I can hardly express the lift and happiness that brought. God is good! Bless you Carla! I LOVED your story 'Proving Up' in the 'Homestead Brides' btw!! :)

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    1. Thank you, Noela! This is so true, that no grief is the same. I'm so glad that you had the opportunity to have extra time with your dad. The abrupt loss of someone close to you is so hard to accept. I am also glad you were able to take the steps necessary to move forward in healing. Blessings!

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  23. Grief is a personal thing, no two griefs are the same. Yet we find comfort with others and with God. Right now a friend is dealing with the immediate grief of losing her dad to cancer. Not being able to be there in person is difficult. But God knows what she needs most and I am praying He provides in big ways over the coming days, weeks. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  24. I would love this book.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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