Books

Stars in the Deepest Night - After the Death of a Child

Stars in the Deepest Night - After the Death of a Child is a collection of poetry written after my twenty-one year old daughter Lori died in a car accident in 1991.
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Catching the Light - Coming Back to Life after the Death of a Child

Catching the Light - Coming Back to Life after the Death of a Child is a collection of poetry and prose from the author of Stars in the Deepest Night. Now she takes us further along in her journey after the death of a child, sharing the renewed hope, joy and new life she has found in grief’s garden.
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Book Reviews

What readers say about Stars in the Deepest Night:

Michael Murnane, Arnold, MD: Over the past 18 months or so since we lost our son, David, I have read many books on the grieving process and we have been to family counseling, but none of that has helped me as much as your book of poems, Stars in the Deepest Night. In fact, the poem, "The Promise" is the place I am striving to get to mentally & emotionally.

I am looking forward to reading your second book of poems, Catching the Light-Coming Back to Life After the Death of a Child. Your poems have helped me more then you know.... Thank you.

Patti Harrington, San Francisco, California: "This book is truly like someone looking right into my heart and soul and saying what I find so difficult to say and feel. More importantly, by sharing it with others close to me, it allowed them to perhaps see what I am going through."

Nanette Jacobs, Mill Valley, California: "After the death of my young daughter, I felt like a raw and open wound. Genesse's poetry was my salve. It gave validation to my pain, and 'The Promise' gave me a reason to go on."

Marianne Lino, The Compassionate Friends, Marin and San Francisco, California: "My first thought upon reading Genesse's poems, was that every word, every thought written, expressed so perfectly and succinctly the feelings of the bereaved and broken hearted parent! I immersed myself in the beautiful and inspired truth of Genesse's poetry."

Dr. Joann Jelly, Ed.D., Silverlakes, California: "Genesse Gentry, whose poetry expresses her painful, evolving mourning process, has provided all of us who grieve a role model of courage and hope. Through her writing, she shows us courage to remain conscious in our hurting, and hope, that though difficult days continue, our loving relationship with our child will never die. Further she guides us over recurring waves of grief to a strong calm. Listen to the cadence of her words and know you are not alone. Genesse Gentry has been there, and is with us."

Audre Hallum, Pacifica CA: In the diminutive but powerful book of poetry "Stars in the Deepest Night," written after the death of her daughter Lori, Genesse Gentry has provided readers with a universal experience, a poignant journey into the heart and soul of a grieving parent. Her bittersweet yet profound insight into the magnitude of this unfathomable loss, covers every nuance of the bereavement condition. This book is a lyrical and beauteous tribute to Lori, yet also a dictum of hope for those of us who are left behind.

At the unexpected and complicated loss of my son Kjell, I struggled for meaning in a world suddenly gone insane. Besides attending both group and individual therapy, I read everything written about the loss of a loved one -- from the great masters and the Bible to the "how-to" books. Fortunately and as if by magic, Genesse Gentry, whom I contacted for information about The Compassionate Friends, sent me a hand typed, home-bound copy of her yet unpublished work.

At first reading, I was astounded. The sheer lyricism of her words mirrored my deepest feelings brought to fruition and set to music. The haunting expression of her pain set mine free and I wept copiously and gratefully for this cleansing experience. Each new page highlighted thoughts and feelings I was then incapable of putting into words. And Genesse, through her symbols of love, provided insight and clarification to my confused and befuddled emotions. To read this book is to therefore embark upon a journey which can lead you from the agony of your loss to the redemption of your spirit.

This is not a book to be be read once and set aside. It has an enduring quality of mercy and can be turned to frequently for solace of the soul. As you empathize with the author's grief over losing Lori, you will also weep for your own wounding. You will begin to understand not only that your are no longer alone, but also that your loss is so far reaching that it permeates every facet of you being. You accompany Genesse Gentry on her highly personal path from stultifying numbness to her gradual reawakening to feeling alive again.

To partake of Genesse Gentry's hymnal, "Stars in the Deepest Night," is akin to entering a cathedral. You are first awe struck by its beauty, then overwhelmed by its sacred ground and ultimately redeemed by its abiding faith. This book is in essence an act of love for Lori, but it is also a triumph of the human spirit, which can lead us all from the deepest night of our despair into the enduring light cast upon us by those we have loved and lost.

Sascha Wagner: The first lines I read from Genesse B. Gentry's book, "Stars In The Deepest Night," were these:

SO SHE MAY HEAR

Hillside walk
above the sea,
memories, songs
wash over me.

Every breath
and every thought,
there is no place
where she is not.

Bright sun, blue sky,
so crisp and clear.
I sing my songs,
so she may hear.

As a bereaved mother, I knew at once what she meant, how she felt. She speaks to grieving parents everywhere. This book is for the heart.

Grief has many faces - from the sadness for "small" losses to the experience of the most extreme. Among the latter, grief over the loss of one's child is unmitigated anguish - a sorrow almost beyond words. STARS IN THE DEEPEST NIGHT reaches out to express this unspeakable tragedy in an open, genuine form. There is clarity in the author's lines, the courage to share with readers a deep insight into the face of her grief after her daughter died.

Gentry's secret is mainly that she intuitively understood how many things grievers have in common. Her pain and her healing are revealed in bittersweet memories, crystallized into words from a poet's mind. Thus her personal experience, enormous in its severity, opens the doors to comfort and healing of other bereaved parents. Gentry's grieving and healing words simultaneously reach into her heart and into yours.

She comments that these poems were a gift to her, and I believe that they are an equally great gift to us.

Catharine Reeve, journalist and photographer, Berkeley, California: "The poems in this beautiful volume touch many facets of the shattering grief and long journey into healing that we who have had a child die encounter. I am grateful to Genesse Gentry for sharing her journey in such a heartfelt, open way. Her wonderful poems continue to help me in my own healing, and I recommend them often, not only to other bereaved parents, but also to anyone who is involved in helping bereaved families."

Donna Curling, Roswell, Georgia: "When my sister died, I found that losing a sibling is like experiencing multiple deaths. . . the death of a beloved brother or sister, and the death of your parents as you have always known them. This book has helped me to better understand both the new person my mother has become and the importance of allowing her to say and do the things she needs to do and say in order to heal."

Joyce Andrews, Sugar Land, Texas, National Board Member, The Compassionate Friends, Inc.: "I love Genesse's lyrical, intelligent verse. She names the emotions and explains the encounters of her early grief with such honesty and candor that they are instantly recognizable to me . . . and will be, I suspect, to bereaved mothers everywhere."

Fred Schaefer, The Compassionate Friends, San Francisco, California: "What reached me on many levels abut your poems was that they are also prayers; they are soft mirrors of your soul; they are psalms. Using stars as the metaphor at once symbolizes the child - everyone's child - and the spirit love that your poetry sings. You and your poetry have honored us all. Thank you."

What readers say about Catching the Light:

Birgitta von Frenckell (mother of Peter) Petaluma, California: I just love, love, love this book!!!!!! It is FANTASTIC!!!!!! I will treasure it for ever and ever. It is a perfect way to express all that we bereaved parents have been through. I will keep it next to my bed and read in it every day. I am contemplating taking it with me to Finland, I don't think I can go without it.

Helen M. Fisher, author , From Erin with Love: Knowledge of Life After Death, Bend, Oregon: Catching the Light is a gift from Genesse Gentry to all bereaved parents. She has been totally honest in describing her emotions, which will be of great help to those who have suffered the loss of a child in understanding their own emotions. I know from my own experience that there are times that you think you will never feel anything other than pain and sadness; other times that you think you may be losing your mind.

Genesse has succeeded in telling the raw truth about the range of emotions following the death of your beloved child. She is to be commended for being so totally honest. Bereaved parents need to know that the emotional ups and downs they are experiencing are the norm and will lessen with time.

Writing this book could not have been easy for her. It meant revisiting her own emotions during the many years since Lori made her transition. I thank her for doing so. This book will help many bereaved parents handle their excruciating pain, giving them hope that they, too, will feel joy again. I believe that is exactly what our children who have made their transition would want for us. Thank you, Genesse, for sharing.

Richard Dew, M.D., author , Rachel's Cry - a Journey Through Grief and Tunnel of Light , Gatlinburg, Tennessee: I'm really impressed. I think this touches on something much neglected--the state of us who are more distantly removed from those bitter first few years. The plight of bereaved parents years after the death of their child is an important, but neglected problem. Catching the Light deals poignantly, but ably, with this topic. Mrs. Gentry's moving poetry shows how a person can rise from the ashes of tragic loss and transform her life while remembering and honoring her child.

Sandy Fox, author , I Have No Intention of Saying Goodbye , Scottsdale, Arizona: I loved this book! By the time I finished the forward, I was hooked and dying to read it, which I did without ever stopping. It shows through Ms. Gentry’s poetry and prose how much she has grown and moved forward...as hard as that is, and I know how hard. I can identify with her outpouring of all kinds of emotions, as I'm sure other bereaved parents will be able to also. I particularly like the poems that speak of her daughter's spirit being here with her. I feel the same way about my daughter and it's comforting to know others do too. The author writes beautiful prose, and I was glad to see more of it in this book along with the poetry.

Mitch Carmody, author , Letters to My Son, a journey through grief , Hastings, Minnesota: "Catching the Light is a wonderful book. The poems are like lovely short stories, saying so much in so few words."

Maria Alexander (forever Lara's mom) , Kentfield, California: The words on your pages are so comforting to me. It's as if you found the words that I was looking for to describe the feelings that we both know so well . . . after losing a daughter. Thank you for letting us share your gift. I will keep your book close to my heart.

Randah Ribhi Hamadeh, author, Summer Rays - Solace for Bereaved Parents, Bahrain: I congragulate you on this wonderful book. I read it cover to cover and did not want to let go of it. I will be reading your poetry again and again. I realized how similar you and I are in our losses and in the way we think and react. I also could relate to you when you wrote about your father. I liked the way you had a text prior to the sections and the way you were triggered to write for the losses of others. Your poem "Megan" for your surviving daughter is wonderful. It is what we would like to tell our surviving children.

Sandy Goodman, author , Love Never Dies: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Love, Riverton, Wyoming: Your book is wonderful. I especially liked "Companions". . . gave me goosebumps. You covered all the bases. I felt your feelings and it touched my heart in all the right places. Thank you.

Michael Seckington (father of Kaitlyn) , Upland, California: I really like the thought you put into each chapter, with what I would call a forward, explaining so much of what it’s like to lose a child and the way people treated you. I think these books are so helpful for someone who has lost a child (that you are not alone) and anyone close to someone who has lost a child to know what you are going through. My wife, Cathy, bought 10 copies of Stars in the Deepest Night to give to friends and family because it explained her emotions after losing Kaitlyn in a way we could not. I know for me in dealing with my grief after 8 years, that it has freed me up to remember Kaitlyn as the perfect spirit that she was and now I feel her around me all the time in the perfect sprit that she is. I will continue to recommend your books to anyone who has lost a child or knows someone who has.