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While many feel the joy and anticipation that comes from the holiday season, those coping with grief often feel a deep sorrow and sense of dread during the months of November and December. In his new book, Stillwater author David Francis uses personal experience and extensive research to help and guide those experiencing grief. “Grief Travelers; Learning To Live And Love Again After Loss” is the second book written by Francis following the loss of his son, Jon, in 2006. During the first holiday season following Jon’s death, Francis and his family experienced holiday distress, likening the feeling to through traveling through a Valley of Grief - a journey made harder when the surrounding world is lit up with holiday cheer.

On July 15, 2006, Jon climbed to the summit of the Grand Mogul in the Sawtooth Mountain Range of Central Idaho and did not return. After a year long search, Jon’s remains were found. Along with his remains, his camera was found containing photos from his climb. Francis selected one of his photos for the cover of the second book.

“The day after his funeral, I began to write,” Francis said. “At first it was for the hundreds of volunteers to thank that worked to find Jon.”

Francis, a chemist who worked at 3M as an engineer, faced grief as a trained scientist and began to research grief and loss. Finding writing to be therapeutic, Francis wrote down lessons learned, helpful resources, and quotes that resonated.

“I learned a lot of about grief and loss,” Francis said.

In “Grief Travelers,” Francis does not offer a tidy ending to the process of grief.

“Closure is a myth. Closure is for bank accounts, and love is not a bank account,” Francis said. “I have done my grief and will continue to do my grief, but I am also able to live, to love and to find joy again.”

One of the lesson Francis shares in the book is to reinvest the love you had for your lost loved one into others.

“I have been blesses with my wife, with our three daughters and our 6 grandchildren,” Francis said. “I reinvest the love I had for Jon into them and I can find some understanding. Joy starts creeping back in.”

For those going through grief and experiencing the difficulties of grief during the holiday season, Francis encourages people to use his book as a resource.

“You have to do your homework, there is a lot of wisdom out there,” Francis said.

“Grief Travelers” can be found at Valley Booksellers, 217 Main St. N.

Contact Alicia Lebens at alicia.lebens@ecm-inc.com

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