Discovering Hope After Sudden Death – How the author recommends readers read  Abiding Light.  What an absolute joy it is to share this 25+ year work with real people around the globe!  I am honored to listen, to share, to pray with, and well some tears with readers like you.  Souls grieving hard losses  as well as the family and friends coming along side those grieving.  Several readers have how I, as the author, recommend the book to be read and to be shared.  I love this question as I hear the intentionality beating in the curious, caring hearts.  I’ll save suggestions for how to gift Abiding Light for a future post.  How should you read this particular book?

How to Read Abiding Light: In the Shadow of Your Absence by Heidi L. Paulec

Discovering Hope After Sudden Death –

a book for those grieving sudden loss and those walking with them

Pick Your People & Pace

First, let me say, there is not one prescriptive way to read & to work through Abiding Light. What are a couple simple ways to enter the pages with a plan to get the most out of them?  Keep a highlighter or favorite pen close by.  As you read, highlight passages in the book and jot down personal thoughts within margins or on paper, such as a journal or simple spiral.

Like any other book, readers will read at their pace.  Unlike other books, Abiding Light is intended to be discussed organically – whether around a family fireplace, in a book club format that discusses the whole book after all have completed the reading or more of a study format where readers discuss distinct sections and perspectives.  I encourage “listening” the voice relatability within the Lamp-Lighting Perspectives as well as listening to your own interior voice.  Welcome the questions; sit with them; and do share them with your circle of readers.  Choosing to discuss specific chunks over a series of gatherings opens conversation and eases the heavy content with breaks and time to consider both the content as well as the compassion growing from the extended discussion. Discovering Hope After Sudden Death

Several of our early readers read Abiding Light in one to two settings.  Of those who did, most gave it a slower second read as well. As an author of this grief oriented book, this surprised me.  I encourage readers to choose at least one friend or family member with whom they read and chat about the book as they do.  Reading hard & heavy emotional works (especially if those reading are in heightened emotional state) may sometimes serve as fuel from internal rumination. Thus, I encourage the reading and dialogue to redirect those thoughts into connecting with another real person rather than possibly isolating even more.

Lean In & Listen

As author who interviewed dozens for this work, a key encouragement I give readers is to enter the pages with a posture of listening.  Listen to the voices within the pages.  And listen for your own as it whispers angst, empathy, understanding.  Feel welcome to engage with ease at a pace comfortable for you to maintain that posture. Discovering Hope After Sudden Death

As you read… consider key phrases, themes, references are standing out to you?  Log those.  (I encourage looking for at least three things).  These notes are helpful as preparation for conversation and group discussion.

“Gathering glimpses of light & life

comes even as we grapple & grieve.” 


Heidi L. Paulec

Abiding Light: In the Shadow of Your Absence

While this is a heavy topic geared for grievers and those who are walking with them, eternal hope is threaded in a readable and  relatable manner.  Thus, people suffering through other losses have also found deep comfort here.  By opening themselves up to conversation as well as receiving and more fluidly sharing compassion, these readers are rising as some of Abiding Light’s biggest cheerleaders.  This, too, surprised me as the author.  I assumed it would be “too much” for most who could not relate to it more directly.

Writing to Remember & Recommend

Do you have a practice of writing a one page response to the books you read?  The back of nearly every book has a blank page.  I encourage readers to join my practice of writing a response right there.  Do not overthink… it doesn’t have to be long or profound.  Just an honest few thoughts on how this book touched your life – heart, soul, mind -…faith, hope, love … in some specific ways.

Finally, if you love Abiding Light or any other book you read, let me encourage you to write a 3-5 sentence Review with a five-star rating on platforms such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Target, Books-A-Million as well as send a recommendation to your favorite independent bookstores.  Feel free to utilize your summary and your notes, so the review reads authentically yours.

Is this helpful?  If so, leave a comment below and share with your book club, family, friends, grief group as you prepare to read together.

Living Hope~


PS  How we read & engage can enhance our experience with any book.

Who will you share this with today?