What exactly is a profound blessing? Profound, meaning very great, intense or with great insight and understanding. And blessing, with God’s favor and protection.
Recently, I finished another fabulous and insightful book about a woman who loved, lost, and yet found some beautiful gifts in the wake of her loss. Can you imagine an an entire book devoted to these “profound blessings” that arise as a result of deep harrowing pain and grief? Read on.
I was privileged to do an interview with the author of “Profound Blessings,” Catherine Capra-Leaf. Catherine is a widow and mother of three who, after a long career devoted to working with special education students, has found new meaning and direction in her life since the loss of her husband.
Helping others who are experiencing difficult life circumstances to find strength, power, and bravery, is a main focus of her life now. She continues to write stories and speak to groups in hope that can inspire and encourage people to find healing in their own lives. (Taken from her website.)
I want to thank Catherine Capra-Leaf for joining us and being open with us about her experience of loss. We appreciate you doing this interview and sharing your emotional journey.
1) Would you share a few words about the loss of your husband?
My husband Michael fought a 3 year battle with an autoimmune disease called “antiphospholipid” syndrome. A disease that caused seizures strokes, and eventually cancer from the medications he was on. His cause of death was cancer in his appendix. It had of course been excruciating to go through the disease with him. I never really understood grief. I spent three years of my life in “medical/hospital mode” for him that I had forgotten about me. How was I gonna survive? It never dawned on me that I would spend most of my days eating out of Tupperware and trying to come to grips with the silent air that entered my life. I knew that I would be incredibly sad after he died, I just didn’t know that vulnerability was worse than the sadness. I felt like a child in a 51-year-old body.
2) When did you decide you wanted to write a book about your loss? What inspired the “profound blessings” at the end of each chapter?
I had never written or thought of writing anything. Completely off my thought radar, until I had a dream the night he died to write it all down. I wasn’t sure what it meant, but I had immediate drive to write down everything that happened. I wrote and wrote and wrote and just felt my fingers hit the keys move these thoughts onto paper. Many things that were in the book were not written about until a year or so later, after I met the old man of the cliffs of Lake Superior who encouraged me to write a book. It’s after that when the real energy in my heart was to write about it and share it with others. Although my journey was horrific, ironically, the most life changing experiences had happened to me. All of which where the most Profound Blessings in my life, that I continue to learn from every day.
3) What were the hardest /most challenging parts for you in writing this book?
The hardest thing for me was to make sure that the reader understood what I was thinking. I didn’t want to be misunderstood. The second thing was my family and friends were involved in this story. I didn’t want my story to exploit their pain and personal grief so I was very careful to tell their story with respect. And lastly, as I said I had absolutely no experience in the mechanics of publishing a story nor did I realize the editing process went on forever..I remember the day I sat at my computer..it was ready. I put my find on the submit button about 10 times. And I said to myself..It’s gonna change your life Cathy…and just maybe I can help others.
4) What do you want people to take with them from this book and how has your life changed since?
I want them to know and understand that they are not alone and anything that they feel or don’t feel is OK. I want them to know that sometimes putting their feet on the ground everyday is a monumental feat, and they don’t walk alone. It has changed my life in so many ways. The Cathy before Mike died, would have never every had the courage to do any of what I a doing today. I wrote a book, met the most amazing people in my life, bought and sold a house, paid the bills and fixed the toilet. But most importantly of all, I have learned the absolute true meaning of compassion. I don’t think you understand the true meaning of that until you have been in dire need to compassion yourself. A moment you don’t forget.
5) What will you be working on next?
I love this question! I am working on a book that is snippets and short stories of my life after his death and the lessons I have learned along the way. I am adding my own artwork to the book because it was a way to express the emotions when I couldn’t find the words. I have continued to write since he died, and I had the idea to put it all together as a nightstand book. I know the vulnerability of those night-time moments and wrote the book with the understanding that women would be reading my words when they were most vulnerable. It is called “And Therein Lies The Grace” A Women’s Reflections of a life interrupted.
Profound Blessings contains treasures of hope that lie at the end of each chapter leave you with an overall feeling of inspiration and hope. God can give us some pretty amazing gifts to us as a result of enduring grief and sorrow, if we allow him to. Thank you Catherine for showing us that there can definitely be a sweeter side of to our grief. I’m looking forward to your next book.
And the best part..BOOK GIVEAWAY!! Comment, like or share to be entered to win a copy of this great book! Winner will be announced Thursday 3/5!
Here are the links to Catherine’s website and social media pages, as well as a link to Amazon where you can purchase her book.
Barnes & Noble: Click here