Title: Covered Mercies
Author: Jean Ann Williams
Genre: Memoir; Christian; Suicide Loss
“Covered in Mercies” is a short companion book to “God’s Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother’s Heart”. It is written for the weary-worn griever. This book focuses on how the Lord brought Jean Ann Williams through the early grief years after her son, Joshua’s, suicide. She writes about how she and her family managed through the “year of firsts” during holidays and significant observance days.
Jean Ann is transparent with her feelings and writes in simplicity as she tells her story of love and loss of her twenty-five-year-old son. She was in the house when Joshua died and felt his last heartbeats. She lived in the house for four more years after, enabling God to reshape her into someone who became stronger in Him.
If you are a mother who has lost a child to suicide or knows someone who has, this book is able to comfort and guide through the most difficult time for any parent. Jean Ann tells her story with sensitivity, and she includes Scripture verses some of which answers questions she had about her son’s afterlife.
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:10).
I’m the mother of a child who died by suicide on March 16, 2004, at the age of twenty-five. I asked many questions during the early grieving years, but the one that bothered me daily was, “Why do I not feel Your love, Lord?”
Even now, all these years later, I’m uncertain about the answer to why I felt that way during my heavy grieving season. Perhaps there are several reasons for this. Did I grieve so fiercely for my dead son that I couldn’t “feel” God’s presence any longer? Was my relationship with God all about a good feeling in my heart? Or could it be that I was subconsciously upset with God for allowing this horrific loss in my life, even though I understood it could happen to anyone?
“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45b).
God made Himself known through specific circumstances—beginning on the day Joshua died—even though there were no happy feelings attached to the blessings.
The first and most important blessing was that my husband, Jim, was home with me when Joshua took his life. I believe our grieving as parents would have been in a state of disconnect if I had been alone in the house with Joshua when he died. Just as we shared the joy of holding Joshua at birth, we shared in the saddest moment of our lives as we held him at the time of his death. This might seem harsh, but in hindsight I’m grateful Jim was with me.
Also, I sensed God’s care as people came alongside me and gave needed support. Friends met me for lunches, tea time, or at my home. One friend didn’t act stoic. Instead she wept with me. I’ll never forget her generous gift of compassion. This friend cried tears and spoke of Joshua and me as she and I sat together at my dining room table. That moment was instrumental because she validated my feelings as a grieving mother, and that helped me begin the painful journey of heartache—which eventually led to a mature healing.
There were also negative situations which brought more sadness, however I understood God had allowed them and he had a plan.
One friend of ten years left our friendship within months after Joshua died. Was my burden too much for her to bear along with her own life challenges? Probably. At the time, I was hurt and couldn’t make sense of it. What had I done wrong? It took me years to come to terms with this sorrow.
There were people who said well-meaning words of comfort such as, “At least you have your other two children.” Or, “Think of your grandchildren. They need you.” Were they dismissing Joshua from my life? No, I see now they hurt for me and were desperate to help.
One issue caused me to cringe inside and was a bit harder to accept. Often when I mentioned Joshua’s name, my words were often met with what felt like cold silence. My heart would cry, “Please, acknowledge my son. Let’s talk about Joshua.” But in truth, they kept silent for fear of upsetting me further.
The blessing in the negatives? I drew closer to God when I felt misunderstood or when I was disappointed by others. If I knew nothing else, I understood without a doubt God knew my heart.
Along with prayers and scriptures, I memorized and quoted often Philippians 4:8 which says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
This verse gave me solid tidbits of peace in an otherwise chaotic life.
In those difficult, early months when Jim and I grieved somewhat differently, the smallest words or situations could hurt the other. And yet, when it counted the most, we learned how to hold each other up and at the perfect moments.
When Jim and I discovered that statistics prove the divorce rate of couples who’ve lost children is a bit over 99 percent, we tried much harder to please each other. I prayed for us by quoting the scripture of the full armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-18. I believe this scripture prayer is the glue which has held us together as a couple.
For us, the first three years were the most difficult. We had to learn how to live alone without Joshua in our lives. He had never completely left home because of life-long health problems. This sudden and tragic empty nest was almost more than we could bear. However, as we clung to the Lord, we trusted His wisdom to guide us and to help carry our burdens.
My inability to feel God’s love became a point of wretched frustration. I called out countless times, “I may not feel You, Lord, but You will never get rid of me. I need You in my life.” Later, when I thought about my words and how I wrestled with God, I trembled at how bold I must have sounded to Him. Later, I realized that if my heartfelt words had been disrespectful to the Lord, the Holy Spirit would knock on my conscience, and I would confess it as sin.
Over the following years, I became more aware of His care and power in my life. I’m grateful God’s mercies continue today as I travel on the journey of losing a child to suicide.
“Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me” (Psalm 42:7).
What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?
For this genre, it was “Grieving God’s Way” by Margaret Brown. This book got me over a hump on my grieving journey and moved me forward.
What makes your featured book a binge-worthy read?
This book addresses suicide loss as well as added poetry as to how I was faring during the time I write about. Also, I added some of my son’s favorite dessert recipes for a more intimate look at his likes.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US account to win.
Runs August 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on September 1.
Jean Ann Williams lives on the Coast of Oregon with her husband Jim. She began her writing career in 1994 by reading a stack of books on the craft of writing. Since then, Jean Ann has published over 300 articles and short stories on the topics of Christianity, health, travel, friendship, relationships, family life, Sunday school take-home papers, and the loss of a child by suicide. To date, Jean Ann has published six books. In her free time, she enjoys Tunisian crochet, inspirational historical books, and vegetable gardening in her greenhouse. Her granddaughters excel in the game of Scrabble. Sometimes they let Nana win. *smiles*
Social Media Links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jean-Ann-Williams/e/B01AB4P95A/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Ann-Williams-848295125269670/?ref=hl
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14840858.Jean_Ann_Williams
Love Truth Blog User: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author Website: jeanannwilliamsauthor.com
My TV News Interview for suicide loss: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buFouV3MbPk&fbclid=IwAR3Fg9htwZ1fGBfGv_CwAAey1q3QKGg-M0qEgd2ZYmjHHpUMq4lXXRD02yg