"Eva not breathing. Pray."
That text message was Mel Lawrenz's entry into the harsh reality of losing his thirty-year-old daughter. Things would never be the same. How could he and his family cope with this devastating loss?
In this narrative of grief, Pastor Mel Lawrenz chronicles how his family struggled to survive the sudden death of their beloved daughter. In raw, vivid episodes, he describes the immediacy of the pain and the uncertainty of what comes next. In the agony of traumatic loss, Lawrenz apprehends the realities of love and life and offers insights on how to navigate our life priorities before or after tragedy hits.
You are not alone. You too can find a way forward.
"This book is difficult to read?as any honest book about death and grief must be. But it is rich and indispensable to any on this hard journey or walking with another who is. Here we witness a father's crushed heart desperately reaching for grace and truth. It is a story told with searing honesty, genuine doubt, and sustaining faith. Mel is the guide we need for the journey we do not want."
Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief
"When the unthinkable happens to those you love most, you cope, you drag your legs out of bed in the morning, you walk as in a stupor, you move one foot in front of the other, and you limp like Jacob. The limp never goes away. This book is about the horrific, tragic death of Eva, the author's daughter, and the book is painful to read. Mel and Ingrid will limp until they die, but their limping is somehow a grace of memory that painfully reminds them of Eva. In their limping they remember Eva, they talk to Eva, they talk about Eva, they wonder and they wander, they see Eva and places she liked and they liked together. But every step, no matter how painful, is a limp with her at their side. Mel Lawrenz has been a friend for years, but I entered into his inner world in this book. Many of us are limping with Mel. At times I had to put this book down, but along the way I acquired a limp."
Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary
"Mel Lawrenz has, by some alchemy of grace and daring, taken the harrowing pain of losing his beloved daughter and turned it into healing balm. A Chronicle of Grief deserves to stand alongside C. S. Lewis's A Grief Observed, Gerald Sittser's A Grace Disguised, and Nicholas Wolterstorff's Lament for a Son as an experience of rawest sorrow transmuted into a testament of deepest hope. Profoundly moving and profoundly life giving."
Mark Buchanan, author of David: Rise and God Speed: Walking as a Spiritual Practice
"Mel Lawrenz has written lucidly and beautifully about the death of his beloved adult daughter. His transparent description of the overwhelming grief he experienced and the solace he found in the Lord and the community of faith is moving, instructive, and most helpful. Highly recommended."
Jill Briscoe, founding editor of Just Between Us, teacher on Telling the Truth
"Within the pages of A Chronicle of Grief, Mel Lawrenz bares his heart broken with grief, yet his story is sprinkled with hope. As I write we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is ripping so many from the arms of their loved ones. When he wrote this book, the author would have had no inkling of what was to come. So much death . . . so much loss . . . so much trauma . . . so much grief . . . for so many individuals and families. A Chronicle of Grief could not be more timely."
Heather Davediuk Gingrich, professor of counseling at Denver Seminary, author of Restoring the Shattered Self
Mel Lawrenz trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought leaders through the Brook Network. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook's minister at large, teaching in North America, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He holds a PhD in the history of Christian thought from Marquette University. His books include Spiritual Leadership Today and Life After Grief.