What does grief have to do with leadership? Leaders are people who experience life completely. Grief is part of a fully experienced life. Force of Will : The Reshaping of Faith in a Year of Grief by Mike Stavlund, is a memoir that allows you, the reader, to understand grief by reading about the experience of another person. If you have already experienced grief you will resonate with the author's story in your own way. The author is a man who lost a child, a son named Will. Mike, the father of Will describes his writing in this way.
What follows: the chaotic and nonlinear recollections of a father who has lost his son, who who hopes he hasn't completely lost his way, and who is trying to make sense of it all. I present these thoughts in the same random, non-chronological stream in which they flow through my brain.
I personally have not yet experienced great loss. While I do not believe one can prepare themselves for loss, I believe being still with another person's loss is an important quality. Reading this memoir, of a father losing a precious child, can be an opportunity to settle oneself, so as not to run from the pain of loss but to experience as fully as possible. A section from the last chapter of the book lingers on my mind,
In all of this, I have this strange sensation of becoming weaker and stronger at the same time. I have the awareness that I'll always be marked by this experience: that when someone I know is sick or dies, I'll feel these same scars and dip down into these same feelings. Yet at the same time I'll always have a quiet confidence about these great fears, an awareness that life includes bitter pain along with inexplicable beauty, and that death is not, finally, the last word. there is strength in weakness, and there is weakness in strength. and somehow, in all of it there is hope.