Refined By Fire

Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace is author Mary Potter Kenyon's memoir of sorts about the tremendous loss she endured during a very short period of time: of her mother, husband, and young grandson. The book description reads:

"Where is the handbook for widows?" Mary Kenyon lamented as she planned a funeral for the beloved husband whose triumph over cancer she chronicled in Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage. During the ensuing weeks, as she attempted to make sense of his untimely death, she filled two journals, blogged, and read the inspirational writings of others who had gone down the road of grief before her--authors like C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle. She eventually found herself studying grief and bereavement in her quest to unearth answers to alleviating the pain associated with profound loss. In the process, she discovered a strength and emotional reserve she didn't know she had, along with an evolving faith that helped her face the impending loss of an eight-year-old grandson.
"In the midst of the darkness of loss, I found light. Admittedly, in those first weeks, it might have been but a single small spark I sensed deep inside of me, but that spark guided me in the twisted, dark journey of grief. As I stumbled over the roots of hopelessness and despair, that light grew to illuminate my path, a path I sometimes felt very alone on. At some point in the journey I'd turned around, and there was God.
That is grace."

This book was markedly sadder to read than her previous book, [book:Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage|18113888]. Chemo-Therapist focused on how her husband's cancer healed and improved their marriage relationship, whereas Refined By Fire focused on the grief process Mary went through throughout her tremendous losses. However, although parts made me weep (especially her young grandson's cancer and death), it was a wonderful book. I read it in less than 24 hours because I just couldn't put it down. Mary intersperses journal entries that she wrote at different points and stages of grief throughout the book, and I found those lovely and was happy she decided to include these private writings, because I feel they could be so helpful to someone who's recently suffered a loss - to see that their feelings are normal, and to get an idea of what to expect throughout the process of grief. She also includes excellent resources for those dealing with a loss. This is a must-read book for anyone going through a difficult loss, or anyone who enjoys reading memoirs.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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