On Loss and Living Onward, by Melissa Dalton-Bradford

By Kellie Purcill

Loss: noun: failure to keep or to continue to have something

: the experience of having something taken from you or destroyed

Grief: noun: deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death

: a cause of deep sadness

: trouble or annoyance

There is no dictionary-wrapped definition which fully conveys or explains loss or grief. For all who have lost, who have mourned, who have been wracked by pain, every ache and stab, every fresh realisation and memory is a unique, isolating event. For those who stand near or beside those who have lost and grieve, there is so much pain to bear witness to, let alone wade through to be with those we love.

We all know the echo of empty words, the stinging reassurances that “[insert fatuous/well-meaning/faithful/condescending/hopeful/comfort-intending phrase here]”. But what is there to say or do when sorrow drags us to the floor, or leaves us standing distant from the mourner, unsure of what would be best?

Melissa Dalton-Bradford’s second and latest book, On Loss and Living Onward, is a balm to the grieving heart, the sodden eyes of – as the subtitle shares – ‘for the grieving and those who would mourn with them’. Melissa begins chapters with experiences from her own journey with loss, following the death of her eldest son Parker. Then there are quotes, excerpts, poems and scriptures in collections: ‘Life at death’, ‘Love at death’, ‘Living after death’, ‘Learning from death’, and ‘Light, love, and life over death’.

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When Life Is Burning Down

By Kellie Purcill

Less than seventy-two hours after my husband told me he didn’t believe in God anymore, and that he also wanted a divorce, I sat on a pew at church and waited for the combined Relief Society/Priesthood class to start. Turns out, the lesson was about celestial – eternal – marriage. I lasted just under three …

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The time hasn’t flown by for me

By Michelle Lehnardt


With the many changes the new mission ages bring to Mormon culture, I pray we can eliminate this phrase from our vernacular, “The time has just flown by!” usually accompanied by, “I can’t believe your son/daughter has been gone that long.”

Ask me how he’s doing. Ask me what city he’s serving in. Or don’t ask me at all. But please, please don’t say the time has flown by, because all I hear is, “I haven’t missed him one bit.”

I know, serving a mission is a privilege, just as bearing a child is a privilege and I know there are mothers who desperately wish their child was on a mission. During my pregnancies I threw up several times a day, suffered through varicose veins, false labor and all kinds of fun infections and complications. Because I was surrounded by friends suffering from infertility, I was careful not to complain but I still didn’t appreciate people saying, “Wow. You just pop out those babies like it’s nothing.”

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