By Adolfo Quezada

Review by JW, 2019

A Grief Revisited: Weaving Loss into the Fabric of our Life

Adolfo Quezada lost his son, Roberto, in a tragic accident in l982.  He wrote his poignant book Goodbye, My Son, Hello, three years later.  Thirty years later in 2015, he wrote A Grief Revisited: Weaving Loss into the Fabric of our Life, in which he and his wife Judy and their three surviving children look back over the decades on the profound loss they experienced.  This book is about how they transcended and transformed their loss into purposeful living. Through sharing their personal and intimate journey, they provide hope to others who have lost a child and feel unable to fathom a future or any sense of well-being. The gift of their words helps the reader to understand that grief is a life-long journey, not something you ever ‘get over’ and that if one is open to it, a life-long teacher.

This book tells the truth and reads like a caring, experienced companion through the wisdom of hindsight.  It is organized into six Parts: Deep Darkness/Faint Light, Grieving Soul/Healing Spirit, A Family Grieves/A Family Remembers, Anguished Grief/Fond Remembrance, Meaningful Loss/Purposeful Life and Endings/Beginnings. Quezada is a retired counselor and psychotherapist and the author of many books including Loving Yourself for God’s Sake.

The following excerpts are used with the author’s permission:  

Tears are signs of life that rise from the wellspring of the soul.  Tears are a gift from God that cleanse and salve our wounded heart. Tears are not a sign of weakness; rather, they are a manifestation of the courage it takes to be fully human and fully alive.   

Grief opened me wide open, leaving me exposed to life.  It was at this shattered place in my being that I encountered the confluence of spirit and soul, heaven and earth, life and death.

The paradox of my spiritual journey through grief was that when I embraced the reality of impermanence, I found the permanence of God.

Although I knew that grief was a part of love, I also knew that grieving forever was not a sign of deeper love.  On the contrary, my love for Roberto was best manifested in the way I went on living my life.

Grief taught me over the years that if I tried to deny the reality of a major loss in my life, I would end up denying other parts of my life as well.  Grief also taught me that the loss of my son did not mean the loss of my union with him.

His wife Judy wrote:

I have grown in so many ways since your death, Roberto, and I’m sure that you have had a hand in it.  By the grace of God I am making it through life. I am learning, loving, forgiving, tearing down what needs to be torn down and building up what needs my attention.  My life is not perfect and I am learning to appreciate what is. I am open to feeling the vibrations of life resonate within my heart and soul. Roberto made an imprint on all of us and we have carried his essence forward with us.  I know he would be proud of us.

From the back cover:

Dealing with a loss through death is like your finger print.  No one has the same experience that you do.

It is a paradox of life that when we are most broken, we have the greatest opportunity for wholeness, when we are lost in darkness, we can see even the faintest glimmer of light; and when we are deepest in the pit of despair, we discover the roots of our faith.

Interview Question:  Adolfo, you speak poignantly about how evolving grief can become a life-long teacher.  It’s been a few years since you published this book and you have since also developed an incurable disease.  In light of this, do you have further insights as to how this new dimension bonds with your grief? (Do you have any special passage that you keep coming back to, from your book?)

The losses we experience throughout our life are like raindrops on a window pane that merge into one stream of grief.  That stream moves on, prepared to receive new losses that are sure to come.

When I received the news that I had a terminal diagnosis, I was shaken, to be sure, yet the diagnosis was like one of those raindrops on the window pane.  It seemed familiar somehow. I had already experienced the worst heart pain imaginable when my 17-year-old son was killed. That horrendous loss had prepared me for all future losses, of course, but my bereavement is now tempered by the derivatives of my greatest loss: faith, purpose and meaning. I had been diminished by my loss; yet I had not been extinguished altogether.  I could still choose to make the stone that crushed me the cornerstone of a new and better life.  I was awakened to a life in which the fulfillment of desires did not satisfy my heart. No longer was it enough to be happy.  My awakening through loss opened a window into a new reality. I saw things more clearly, I felt things more acutely, and I experienced life more robustly than I ever had before. (A Grief Revisited: Weaving Loss into the Fabric of our Life –Adolfo Quezada, 2015)