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Friday, June 22, 2012

Grieving mother scribes a story of soul survival

In her book, Ginny Brock of Moneta writes about how she has connected with her late son. The Moneta/Smith Mountain Lake Friends of the Library will host a book signing event for Ginny Brock, local author of "By Morning's Light" on Tuesday, June 26th at 5:00 pm at the Moneta/Smith Mountain Lake Library.

Even if you don't believe in life after death or communicating with those who have passed on, Moneta resident Ginny Brock wants you to think again.

In November 2009, her youngest son, Drew, died unexpectedly at 26.

"The best doctors in Colorado tested for everything, but they said there could be multiple causes of multiple organ failure and the neurological event that left Drew brain-dead," said Brock.

Any mother who loses a child will tell you that she feels completely alone in the darkest moment of her life. In spite of her nearly overwhelming grief, Brock said she quickly learned she was not alone. "Messages" and "visits" from her son have sustained her through her tears, she said.

To understand the connection between Brock and her three children, you need to know about them as they were before Drew's death. Ginny, born in South Africa, lived all over the world with her late husband, Walt. Karen, their oldest, was born in South Africa; next came Michael, who was born in Arkansas. Ten years later, Drew surprised the family when he was born in Dubai.

Drew embodied the sunny atmosphere of the Persian Gulf, becoming everybody's favorite, according to Brock. From an early age, he was all little boy, writing stories about frogs, swimming in the ocean and later in Smith Mountain Lake, and rolling in the grass with his Labrador, Cassie.

The closeness of the family during the good times helped Brock survive the grief when her husband died three years before her youngest son.

As part of the cycle of life, children grow and leave home. At 21, Drew moved to Vail, Colo., to work at a world-class resort. Five years later, he collapsed in the house he shared with several friends.

"He was not scheduled to work that morning, so his friends let him sleep in," recalled Brock. "When one of them returned in mid-afternoon, Drew was lying where they left him. He never regained consciousness."

Brock and Drew's siblings agreed to take him off life support on the fifth day after he lost consciousness.

This story would be even more tragic were it not for the way Brock has handled her son's death; she has captured her feelings, happy and sad, in a journal she began shortly after Drew died. She steeped herself in spiritualism, Buddhism and other nontraditional beliefs where the mind, body and spirit come together. As part of a meditation group in the years after she moved to the lake, Brock wanted to make contact with the spirits of her son and husband.

"I wanted to retreat into grief," but Drew "encouraged" her to write their story and publish it, said Brock.

Brock said she resisted at first, but as the idea became more intriguing, she knew she had to talk about seeing and feeling spirits. Her friends from the meditation group encouraged her, as did her fellow members of Lake Writers. A group of friends, whom Brock calls "earth angels," parents who lost their children and belong to a club no one wants to join, provided more encouragement. More than anything, perhaps, Brock wanted the story told.

Brock embarked on a journey, both spiritual and physical, to help others understand that life doesn't have to end with death. She calls her book a story of "soul survival," wherein she recounts events in the year following November 2008.

Through vivid memories of conversations with her son, which nearly always start with "Hey, Mom," Brock said she started to regain her equilibrium. Her surviving children also have "spoken" with Drew, as have many of his friends, she said. They report a rush of energy before hearing Drew's voice in their heads and asking for some physical sign that what they experienced was not their imaginations.

"Drew, send me a sign so I know I'm not imagining your visits," Brock said she asked.

He did, she said. Over several weeks, his signs included the playing of "I'll Be Watching You" on various radio stations, an orchid delivered by one of Drew's friends on Valentine's Day and white doves on television, T-shirts and candles.

"I have learned without doubt that the gulf between dimensions, as deep and impossible as it seems to cross, can be breached," said Brock. "Drew reached across that gulf, our spirits joined hands, and during that year, I was shown the view through heaven's window. But much more than that, he pulled me through the darkness of his dying and into the dawn by giving me the gift of knowing that he lives."

Brock scattered Drew's ashes in places he loved: South Africa, the Colorado Rockies and Smith Mountain Lake. She took the last of his ashes to Dubai where on a smoking-hot day, she released them on the beach just as the Muslim call to prayer rang out over the water. Counterpoint to "Allah O Akbar" was "I'm here, Mom." Brock said she believes Drew approved of her choice to release some ashes into the Persian Gulf he so loved.

"By Morning's Light, The True Story of a Mother's Reconnection with Her Son in the Afterlife," was published by Llewellyn Worldwide in May. Brock will be reading from and signing copies of her book at the Moneta/Smith Mountain Lake Library on June 26 at 5 p.m., at Westlake Library on July 10 at 6 p.m., and at the Franklin County Library in Rocky Mount on July 12 at 7 p.m. She currently is working on a novel about reincarnation.

Brock said she would like the public to attend her upcoming readings and book signings. She doesn't ask those who come to suspend their belief, but to listen to her story.

"We don't die," said Brock. "Our soul survives, and in the final analysis, love is all there is."

"By Morning's Light" is available at major bookstores nationwide, Amazon.com and other on-line bookstores in e-book and print. It may be available at some lake gift stores.

www.ginnybrock-author.webs.com/, http://www.ginny-brock.blogspot.com

NEXT BOOK SIGNING

The Moneta/Smith Mountain Lake Friends of the Library will host a book-signing event for Ginny Brock, local author of "By Morning's Light." Brock also will talk about the book and read from it. Refreshments will be served.

Where: Moneta/Smith Mountain Lake Library

When: Tuesday, June 26, 5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Information: Moneta/SML Library: 297-6474