Life After Breath
Reviews & Endorsement Excerpts
“Most people walking the planet today have experienced grief at some time in their lives, but most don’t have the gift of words to put pen to paper the way that Susan VandePol does.
Life After Breath is one of the most beautifully written expressions of grief I have ever read.”
(Wanda Sanchez - PTSD consultant, publicist, co-author of Love Letters from the Edge: Meditations for Those Struggling with Brokenness, Trauma, and the Pain of Life.)
“Poignant, transparent, lyrical, and gut-wrenchingly honest, Life After Breath is a gift to those who have experienced the deep sorrow of losing a loved one.”
(Shelly Beach - Award-winning author, speaker, caregiving expert, and co-founder of PTSDPerspectives.com)
"Life After Breath" is an incredibly insightful book. Its profound truth will draw you back again and again as you discover the purpose for which God has set you apart."
(Dr. H. Norman Wright - LMFT, grief expert and award-winning author of more than seventy books, and Tess Wright - Author of "The One-Minute Counselor for Women)
“…..amazing, tender, beautiful, memorable…..”
(Joseph Northcut - Director of Church Ministries, GriefShare.org)
Excerpt from gospel Coalition review // Gaye clark
The 40 short devotional-style entries offer poignant details of her husband’s death and ooze with Scripture and word pictures that bring theological truth into technicolor view. With the precision and care of a brain surgeon, VandePol uses God’s Word to cut us at strategic points throughout.
VandePol has certification in grief, crisis, and trauma counseling. But in reading Life After Breath, it’s not her certifications or educational qualifications that shine—it’s her intimate relationship with Christ and quiet trust that God’s not wasting her pain. While VandePol shares her pain with brutal honesty and vulnerability, she frames her suffering in the context of the gospel and offers purpose and hope to widows. “The truth of what is ahead for you must be found in God’s Word,” she says. “You will see there that you are meant to be one of his greatest allies in these times of faint hearts and tribulation.”
VandePol has a tenacious grip on the concept of grace, particularly in the way she remembers friends and family who “could not face” her husband’s diagnosis:
“They never came or called or sent a Hallmark sentiment, yet they loved him, and we recognized their love in the weight of their absence. Others might call them cowards or self-centered, but I thought of it as a type of courage. . . .
So we loved them all no matter what and gave up the right to have an opinion about how they dealt with Bob’s illness or death.”
When my own husband, Jim, passed away, it seemed nearly every visitor offered me a book I “just had to read.” Most of these books put a heavy emphasis on “rejoicing in tribulation” and didn’t give me permission to grieve. Other books advised me to not spend too much time watching TV and to make sure I didn’t overindulge in spending or eating. And others simply presumed I faced widowhood as an elderly woman. Few offered me the gospel salve Life After Breath articulates and extends.
Many books for widows presume a lot about our circumstance and age. But Life After Breath isn’t that kind of book. It won’t advise you how to respond to your mother-in-law’s grief or whether or not you should sell your home.
Instead, VandePol mines the lessons God taught her about his undying love through the death of her husband. Though each widow's story is unique, we all only find our ultimate healing in Christ. Some will see her eloquence lacking clarity, thus making her book hard to read quickly. But Life After Breath is not best read quickly—it’s best read slowly, thoughtfully, and more than once."
Praise from AmazoN
"Life After Breath" is elegantly written and speaks directly to the heart and hurt of widows. It's affirming, it's honest, it's relatable, and it will lead you to transformation. Without apology or excuse for the pain widows endure, VandePol reassures us that we have the choice to grieve and heal."
“This book will hold you spellbound…..”
“Who knew a book on grief could be a page-turner? Writing in a style reminiscent of C.S. Lewis, Susan VandePol recounts the story of her loss - but so much more.”
“I felt her love and heart more deeply as each chapter progressed. Very readable and useful, even for those who are not widows, and even for men, particularly those helping others deal with grief.”
“I gave it five stars because I couldn’t give it more."
“An elegantly written book! Susan is an author who truly cares about her mission and her audience. Her writing is a breath of fresh air and I think that this is a book that everyone who has been down this road should absolutely read!"
“Beautiful journey taken throughout the grief process and helps those who feel no one understands the pain and sting of death! A gift to the grieving! Thank you Susan.”
“This is the best book I've ever read
on the subject of grieving.”
“There have been countless, informative books written about the universal and tragic experience of grief,
but “Life After Breath” goes beyond the emergency of death and into the metaphorical “burn unit”
of its recovering survivors.”
“Got my book yesterday. Already read it the same day. I don’t know what to say, because mere words are so inadequate to express what your book did to me!"
“For anyone who
has wondered “why me?”
this book is for you.”
“Here she shares what the family went through but at the same time reaches out
to others dealing with grief in an incredibly beautiful way. Definitely a book of encouragement even for those not grieving
but who simply need a lift. As a "bookaholic" I can say I've never had a book grip me
like this one has.”
“Her words are God breathed and born in the crucible of pain and despair. Yet through this valley she extends the hand of healing grace to each one of us who have or will deal with the great loss of a loved one on this journey of life. I highly recommend Susan Vandepol's book, Life after breath.”
"This author adeptly writes in a unique language, that I can only describe as "widow-speak";
a tongue that can be easily translated via
a broken heart.
“AFTER READING LIFE AFTER BREATH, I REALIZED THAT THERE IS HOPE IN THE FOREIGN LAND OF GRIEF, AGONY, SORROW, CONFUSION AND SOMETIMES DARKNESS, THAT IS PARALYZING. THE WAY THE AUTHOR WRITES AND CONVEYS HER PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THE LIFE AND DEATH OF HER HUSBAND, AND THE GIVING OF HOPE, LIFE AND LIGHT, I FELT LIKE SHE WAS SITTING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME THE WHOLE TIME, HOLDING MY FACE IN HER HANDS, UNDERSTANDING EVERYTHING, AND HER ASSURANCE AND WISDOM GAVE ME MOMENTS WHERE I BLURTED OUT A RESOUNDING YES!, OR A SIGH OF "SHE UNDERSTANDS", OR NODDING THAT "YES, THAT IS HOW I FEEL . . .", ALONG WITH TEARS OF JOY, TEARS OF FEELING FOR HER OWN LOSSES, TEARS OF JUST REALIZING WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE. I DEVOURED THIS BOOK. I KNEW I HAD SOME SPECIFIC PEOPLE AND A FAMILY MEMBER THAT I WANTED TO GIVE THIS BOOK TO, BUT DURING MY READING, OTHERS POPPED INTO MY MIND AND I GOT EXCITED TO GIVE TO THEM THE STORY OF HOPE AND HEALING, AS WELL! I SO ENJOYED READING THIS (WELL, ACTUALLY IT FEELS LIKE THE AUTHOR WROTE THIS JUST FOR ME, AND AUDIBLY SHARED IT WITH JUST ME), AND I JUST WANT TO HAVE OTHERS EXPERIENCE WHAT I JUST DID! THANKFUL FOR THIS NEW AND NEEDED BREATH!”
“THIS BOOK IS BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. COMPLETELY FROM HER HEART, AS SHE TOUCHES YOURS.
“In these exceptionally readable pages,
you will also encounter another kind of miracle, which is this woman's sacred ability to put life's most wrenching experiences and most complex emotions into the most exalted, heart-penetrating language. As a journalist and a man of words myself, what can I say?
It has to be a gift from God Himself.
As you read this story, don't be surprised to meet Him for yourself. Finally, for those,
who like Job of the Bible, are still grappling with the questions raised and the struggles brought on by great loss and great grief,
this book contains the message that Job's
well-meaning but badly misguided friends should have shared with him.”