Book Review: Words of Comfort for Times of Loss

 Grand Prize Giveaway at the End of Post!


I remember as though it were yesterday.  Something was wrong with my husband Larry.  Really wrong.  But my son was graduating from high school and we wanted one last family vacation together.  We went to England and Scotland.  While we were there we got word that our house had burned to the ground.  We returned home to ashes and the news that Larry’s condition would continue to rob him of his mental and physical faculties, and eventually of his life.  

Oh, how well I remember.  All alone…  Lost in grief and despair… Desperate to make sense of it all and still cling to my faith in God… Needing my children but desperate not to drag them into my increasing hopelessness. 

I remember so well, searching for a book like this one written by Cecil Murphy and Liz Allison.  Searching for someone who could understand my loss and grief. 

The authors know what they are talking about: 

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.
 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 friendsthey 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.

From guiding the reader away from the “if onlies” and toward the little joys to reaffirming roller-coaster feelings, to pointing the way to help, this little book packs a wallop of comfort.  Thank you, Cec and Liz.  How I wish this book had been available for my weary soul!  



Harvest House Publishers
Release Date: 1/1/10
ISBN: 978-0-7369-2429-0
Retail: $10.99
Hardcover: 6X6

Grand Prize Giveaway

This grand prize is especially designed for someone going through a difficult time. Keep it or pass it along to someone who could use a special pick-me-up.  Comment to this blog and you will be eligible for the drawing. 
The Prize 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



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.
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




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10 responses to “Book Review: Words of Comfort for Times of Loss

  1. When my sister’s husband died after a freak accident on his motorcycle, our family had no idea how to comfort one another. I know some things were said (some by me!) that weren’t kind or helpful. We were all in shock–and, having lost the best one of us, worried that we would never have fun together again. I, too, wish I would have had the benefit of Cec’s and Liz’s wisdom. I can still use it!

  2. Thanks, Jeanette. I’ll put you in for the drawing!

  3. I well remember my visit to say goodbye to my beloved Uncle. A woman in my Bible study heard my prayer request and offered to fly me down to see him – a kindness I’ll always be thankful for. But in this same Bible study, I had also become painfully aware that people often say the wrong thing and cause pain when they intended to be helpful.
    As I spent treasured hours with my Aunt, we talked about this exact topic… and the things she shared with me have stayed with me ever since. They have impacted my ministry to hurting women over the years. Many of them thank me today for listening and saying the right things during their time of pain. I always think… “if it hadn’t been for my very special Aunt and Uncle, you wouldn’t be thanking me today”.

    Now, years later, I face my own pain. It’s the pain of loss, not of a loved one, though that too has been painful this past year as we lost both of my husbands parents. It’s the loss that comes from a debilitating chronic illness.

    My loss is a loss that haunts me day in and day out if I let it. I grieve losing who I had grown to be, and if I let it, that grief can become overwhelming. But God in his faithfulness to me, has slowly shown me that, though I feel wrapped in a cocoon, I can stretch my wings in new ways.

    But I must add, that people say so many hurtful, painful things – thinking that they are encouraging me. And, as I understand it, this is the case for most people who have lost their way of life to a chronic illness.

    I still dream of getting back to writing and speaking, but those may never be in my future. God knows… and I trust him. But in those in-between times, when I have forgotten to trust and the grief threatens to crash over me like waves in the ocean… I could really use the words of encouragement from this book you have shared today!

    I would love to be entered to win this prize giveaway. I don’t know yet whether I would keep it for myself as personal encouragement, or share it with another chronically ill friend. I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to avoid opening the books… and some chocolate… and the socks might quickly be on my feet – hee hee…

    Thank you for your blog Kay – I always enjoy it very much.

  4. PS: I know this is a funny avatar! But my other “personality” on WordPress is with The Tea Review Blog. I write reviews on all kinds of teas, and I receive lots of sample bags in return! See… God gives me little ways to still be me… 🙂

  5. I remember your visit, Melanie. Thanks for then and for now.

  6. Carol Holquist

    Nearly a year ago I lost my precious husband. I’ve been amazed and blessed by the creative ways in which people have expressed their support. Dinner invitations, phone calls and e-mails, helpful reading material, cups of tea, and notes “just because” have helped me navigate the difficult waters of grief. I’ll look forward to seeing this new book so that I can keep the circle of caring going.

    • Oh, Carol, I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I will never forget the loving care you both gave Lisa on her first venture away from home. Thank you so much for stopping by.

  7. I lost my mother a few years ago and I still miss her terribly. It is important to know how to help or what to say to others. This book sounds like a much needed guideline on how to respond to people. The experience the two authors have between them will be invaluable to those who read their words.

  8. Carol

    I’m just now reading this post after having attended the funeral of my sister-in-law, Debbie, yesterday morning. She died after an 11-year battle with brain tumors and leaves behind a husband and 2 sons, aged 17 and 21. This book sounds like an incredible resource. It is very difficult to find words that will bring comfort, and often challenging for the recipients to know how to respond as well. Debbie’s family has spent so many years caring for her, that many relationships have suffered. I’m going to look for this book myself, and probably order a second copy to give away.

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