Friday, April 2, 2010

Words of Comfort in Times of Loss by Cecil Murphey and Liz Allison

Through great personal loss, authors Cecil Murphey and Liz Allison have gained insight to share with others who are going through uncertainty, depression, and loneliness after losing a loved one. They also offer advice for those comforting someone who is grieving.

Among comforting paintings by artist Michal Sparks, brief stories, personal experiences, and prayers offer a meaningful path toward healing for readers when they:

  • feel alone and lost in their grief and want to reconnect with others and to life
  • seek to make sense of their loss alongside their sense of faith, purpose, and God
  • want to honor their loved one without clinging to the past in unhealthy ways
Readers are given gentle permission to grapple with doubt, seek peace, and reflect on loss in their own way without judgment and with understanding and hope. A perfect gift for a loved one dealing with loss and grief.

Liz Allison was married to NASCAR driver Davey Allison until his tragic death in 1993. Widowed at 28 with two young children to raise, Liz faced the long journey of pain, loss, and grief with great faith. Committed to encouraging others, she returned to her work in TV reporting, has published eight books, and hosts a weekly radio show. Please visit

Cecil Murphey is an international speaker and bestselling author who has written more than 100 books, including New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper). No stranger himself to loss and grief, Cecil has served as a pastor and hospital chaplain for many years, and through his ministry and books he has brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world.
Please visit

NOTE: Instead of the tradition Q/A type blog tour. We are offering these personal letters to readers from the introduction of Words of Comfort for Times of Loss.

Why We Write About Loss

On the morning of July 12, 1992, my husband, Davey, left home like any other morning—he kissed my forehead and hugged our kids.That afternoon I answered a knock at the door, sensing something wasn’t quite right. When I glimpsed the faces of Davey’s two best friends—they didn't have to speak—the looks on their faces said it all.

That day, after lunch with his race team, Davey had hopped into his helicopter and taken an unplanned trip to the nearby Talladega Superspeedway to watch a buddy practice. Attempting to land in the infield, he had lost control of his helicopter and crashed. Although paramedics airlifted Davey to a Birmingham hospital, sixteen hours later he was pronounced dead.

Immediately following Davey’s death, I had to work through my grief enough to plan his funeral and make hundreds of small-but-significant decisions, all while maintaining the time and energy to care for our two young children, ages one and three. Well-wishing friends hovered around me and frequently asked, “What can I do for you?

Most of the time, I could only respond with a blank stare. Looking back, my friends could have done many things for me, but they didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t know what to tell them.

I hope the insights I have gained during the aftermath of Davey’s death will help you as you struggle with your own grief.



Two weeks after my father suffered a ministroke, a massive stroke took his life. On the day of his funeral, my older brother, Ray, died of cancer. Over the next eighteen months, I lost two brothers-in-law and my mother.

On the Sunday after Dad’s and Ray’s funerals, a parishioner rushed up to me, hugged me, and said, “Pastor, I heard about the deaths. Were they saved?”

I honestly don’t remember what I answered, but I wanted to shout, “Does it matter right now? I hurt. I’m so filled with pain that I’m not sure I can handle the worship service today!”

In 2007, our house burned down. Our son-in-law, Alan, died in the fire. The next day, a neighbor pulled up in front of our burned house, got out of his car, and started to look around. “Where did he die?” he asked.

Through the years, I’ve met many like those two people. Maybe they didn’t know what to say. Perhaps they were so focused on what they cared about that they were unaware of my pain. Instead of helping me, those comments made me feel even worse. What I needed was compassion. I didn’t get that from either of them, but I can offer it to you.

That’s why we’ve written this book.


I had opportunity to share with the author – Cec Murphey – a bit about my story and God’s perfect timing in it.  I thought it might be nice to share here on my blog as well ---

Last summer, I received an e-mail from Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, offering me the chance to review and promote a book that Cec had written called When Someone You Love Has Cancer.  I read the e-mail and then deleted it, thinking that I should allow the opportunity to those who might really need and benefit from the book.  Little did I know at the time that the VERY NEXT DAY I would find out that my best friend had ovarian cancer.  As soon as I hung up the phone with her, I was reminded of the book; and e-mailed my contact back, asking to be put on the review list.  That book came at just the right time and was a real source of comfort to me as I walked the road of cancer with my friend.

On February 28th, the offer  came to review this new book – Words of Comfort in Times of Loss.  I recognized Liz Allison’s name and was immediately reminded of her husband Davey’s death. We were NASCAR fans at the time, and I remember my heart breaking for her and her young children.  I did ask to review this book, having no idea (once again) that the VERY NEXT DAY my best friend would be taken (via ambulance) to the hospital, never to return home again (she died on March 5th).

Needless to say, both of these books have not only been timely, but a great source of blessing and encouragement.  If you know someone that has recently suffered the loss of a loved one, I’d definitely encourage the purchase of this little gift book for him/her.  It is a quick read – you can read it all in one sitting – but it’s also appropriate to just read a little bit at a time and to skip around according to the topics or your needs at the time.  Each little “devotional” reading is followed by a short prayer.

I’m going to share just 2 quick quotes from the book that really met me where I am right now ---

“You may need to feel anger, resentment, or guilt. Whatever your emotions, tell yourself that it’s all right to feel them. You may even need to say to yourself, ‘This is the way I need to feel right now.’” ~pg. 39

“Don’t try to hurry through the pain. Take the necessary time to deal with your loss. There is no magic number of days to grieve, and there is no specific number of times to cry. allow others to comfort you. Give them the opportunity to wrap their arms around you and shower you with compassion. Never forget that Jesus, too, cried.” ~ pg. 43

CONTEST:  If you are going through a difficult time, maybe suffering through the recent loss of a loved one, please leave me a comment and let me know.  Kathy Carlson Willis Communications has a great GRAND PRIZE Package, especially for someone who is suffering. 

Grand Prize Giveaway includes:

Words of Comfort for Times of Loss
Heaven Is Real
Gift Edition, 90 Minutes in Heaven
Potato soup
Oyster crackers
Dove silky smooth milk chocolate
Dove silky smooth dark chocolate
Ultra-plush spa socks
Large gel eye mask

This special grandprize giveaway is designed especially for someone going through a difficult time. The winner can keep or pass along to someone who could use the pick-me-up.


Lanie said...

Oh my gosh! I was just checking on my blog and saw that you are a new follower. I popped over to check your blog out and follow you back and... I saw this post. It is everything I can do right now not to cry reading about the loss of others. I am all to familiar with the pain. I am not struggling to get through it, just trying to understand it. You see I lost my sweet mother to ovarian cancer last October. (Last August, we lost my father in law and last April we lost my maternal grandmother). Not having experienced the loss of someone so close and then having so many losses at once... wow! This giveaway is beautiful! ~Lanie

zimbousa said...

hello Heidi, I know you know a bit of our story. Brendon died in October 2008 from brain cancer. We are still in recovery mode even almost 18 months later. I begun counselling to help me deal with my delayed grief reaction. Being on the crew this year helped renew my love for writing and I am prompted to begin a book/e-book about Brendon, cancer, healthy nutrition etc all
in one, hoping it helps someone else.
Thank you
Praying for you as your journey with grief has really just begun - take it slow and steady!

Michelle said...


What a lovely grand prize giveaway! Several weeks ago our pastor's sister's husband (age 38) passed away suddenly from a heart attack, leaving behind a wife and five sons. I think a package like this could really cheer her. Thanks so much for offering it!

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