Griefland: An Intimate Portrait of Love, Loss, and Unlikely Friendship


Grief blisters like third-degree burns, trying to form scabs, struggling to heal, ripped off without warning by the sight of his favorite things: scuffed Adidas, an autographed Tony Hawk skateboard, Rice  Krispies treats, macaroni and cheese from a box. I see him in all of these things now, but he quickly evaporates, setting off a silent alarm that plays full volume inside my head.
—Armen Bacon

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Griefland: An Intimate Portrait Of Love, Loss, And Unlikely Friendship

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Grief blisters like third-degree burns, trying to form scabs, struggling to heal, ripped off without warning by the sight of his favorite things: scuffed Adidas, an autographed Tony Hawk skateboard, Rice  Krispies treats, macaroni and cheese from a box. I see him in all of these things now, but he quickly evaporates, setting off a silent alarm that plays full volume inside my head.
—Armen Bacon
This is the month I’ve been wondering about for nearly a year. That marker that reminds me I’m still alive, but frozen—a still life—that I’ve survived the step out of time into the realm of no-time. Where the frost that sweeps the lawns with glistening white has infiltrated my body and soul like a virus, moving through each vein and artery, to the ends of my toes. I am frozen from the inside out.
—Nancy Miller
Griefland. It’s a place no one wants to visit—a place without borders where language is inadequate and pain is constant. It’s a place where every morning one awakens to the stark reality that a loved one will never be seen, heard—or embraced—again. This is a place that Armen Bacon and Nancy Miller know all too well, for both of them, when they met, had lost a child—a son Alex, and a daughter, Rachel.

Griefland provides an intimate portrait of what tragedy does to the human soul, how it changes one’s life, and most important, how it can be survived. With achingly beautiful language, this book explores the acute moment-to-moment experience of grief. But it also transcends that and speaks to the redemptive power of friendship, trust, intimacy, and love. Together they discover a will and desire to move forward, recognizing that Life is the ultimate prize for those who survive this excruciating journey.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“By exploring GRIEFLAND together, Armen Bacon and Nancy Miller remind us that the only way to traverse this terrain, so studded with landmines and bottomless chasms, is to hold someone's hand. A journey through Griefland is not a welcome passage, but discovering that you don't have to make it alone makes each step a little easier.”
—Carla Malden, author of AfterImage  

“It's the tragedy no one wants to imagine: the death of our child. These moms had me from the first chapter. From the honesty of their raw pain to the ways they helped each other through words that spoke of memories, anger, comfort, and eventual acceptance, I fell in love with the children they lost and the friendship they forged. You will learn, empathize, shed tears, share a laugh—and, if you need it, find comfort from the beautiful words that helped these two authors heal themselves and each other. Full of insight, emotion, and unforgettable images that honor the process of parenting and the value of connection.”
—Randye Kaye, author of Ben Behind His Voices: One Family's Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope
“Loss and grief are definitive in the human condition, and the loss of a child trumps all. In Griefland, Armen Bacon and Nancy Miller conjure an anatomy of loss, and the grim climb back to a livable life after it, even though those lives will be forever changed.”
—Leslie Heywood, author of Pretty Good for a Girl and The Proving Grounds
“Armen Bacon and Nancy Miller . . . courageously write their way into the darkest of the dark nights and they refuse to blink. Their writing takes us deep into pain without apology. They are relentless in their prose, in their honesty. . . . Bacon and Miller have survived, continue to survive, and have rendered their journey in a poetic prose that is both heartbreaking and inspiring.”
—Doug Rice, author of Dream Memoirs


Library Journal
Continuing with the theme of suffering parents is this book by Bacon (contributor and columnist, Fresno Bee), and English composition instructor Miller that provides moment-to-moment experiences of grief in the losses of their respective children. The book records the journey they took together while grief stricken. Through an unlikely series of events, the women found each other to lean on and travel with through the uncharted territory. For readers facing similar challenges, here are companions and a sort of map for the road ahead, one in which they will find they are not alone. Recommended for parents who are or will be entering the land of grief, and for those who love them.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762780846
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/2/2012
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 948,844
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Armen Bacon is a regular contributor to The Fresno Bee and has a daily radio feature titled Live, Laugh, Love. For two decades she has served as a media spokeswoman for education. Armen resides in Fresno, California.

Nancy Miller has been an English and composition instructor at the university and junior college levels for more than seventeen years. She lives in Olympia, Washington.

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