Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Beth Vogt & Things I Never Told You

Posted May 2, 2018 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Beth K. Vogt, Christian, contemporary, giveaway / 79 Comments


Happy Wednesday, friends!

Please join me in welcoming Beth K. Vogt to the blog today to talk about Understanding and Coping with Delayed Grief, a topic she addresses in her new novel Things I Never Told You.

SERIES: Thatcher Sisters #1
GENRE:
Inspirational Women’s Fiction

PUBLISHER: Tyndale
RELEASE DATE: May 8, 2018
PAGES: 432

It’s been ten years since Payton Thatcher’s twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine—as long as she manages to hold her memories and her family at arm’s length.

But with her middle sister Jillian’s engagement, Payton’s party-planning skills are called into action. Which means working alongside her opinionated oldest sister, Johanna, who always seems ready for a fight. They can only hope that a wedding might be just the occasion to heal the resentment and jealousy that divides them . . . until a frightening diagnosis threatens Jillian’s plans and her future. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart.

Read the first chapter here!


Understanding and Coping with Delayed Grief

by Beth K. Vogt

When my son, Josh, was fourteen, he spent the summer in Kenya with Teen Missions, helping build a dormitory. The group of teens and sponsors roughed it for six weeks, sleeping in tents and washing their clothes in buckets of water.

When we got home from picking Josh up at the airport after his once-in-a-lifetime summer experience, I told him to toss his duffel bag in the garage. I planned on emptying out the dirty clothes the next morning. When I walked into the garage a few days later, I was overwhelmed by a foul odor. It smelled as if an animal had crawled into our garage and died.

The source of the rank smell was my son’s neglected duffel bag. The contents—a bundle of not-very-well-washed-or-dried clothes worn by a teen boy for six weeks—had fermented in the hot, closed-off garage. Now my son’s clothes had my attention—but only long enough for me to toss them into the trash can.

And that is what delayed grief is like: emotions that are ignored for a period of time but that eventually will demand your attention. As a wise friend once said, “Grief will wait.”

“Suppressed grief suffocates, it rages within the breast, and is forced to multiply its strength.”

Ovid (43 BC–AD 17), Roman poet

Grief accompanies every tragedy in our lives. When a parent dies, you will grieve—no matter how complicated your relationship was with your mother or father. The loss of a spouse or a child or a best friend . . . know that grief follows those losses, too.

It’s good to understand grief . . . but it’s something else to try to control it. Still, we humans like to manage things—even grief. So we talk about “the first year of grief”—and we try to rush through the first birthday and the first anniversary and the first holiday season without a loved one. We think that if we get through all “the firsts,” everything will be fine after that. And we acknowledge the well-known various stages of grief first documented by Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, as if by doing so we can better navigate our sorrows. If our grief is controlled, then we know we will survive. Or we can tell someone else that they will survive, and maybe their sorrow is less scary for us, too.

There’s nothing wrong about searching for survival . . . except when we deny our pain. And that’s what we do when we delay grief.

  • The mother of three little children loses her spouse and thinks, “I can’t dwell on how much I miss him. I can’t let my son and daughters see me cry. I have to be both a mom and a dad. I have to hold the family together.”
  • A young boy loses his mother, but his father doesn’t talk about it. He’s told to be brave for his mommy in heaven. To make her proud. To not cry.
  • A military service member loses a leg during a deployment overseas. He survives—is sometimes even hailed as a hero for his efforts. He learns to walk again with a prosthesis. He feels like he has to keep being strong and fight to find a new normal. Don’t look back at what was lost.

“There is no grief like the grief that does not speak.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), American poet

At some point, months or years later, grief will demand to be heard. Perhaps one of the most notable voices in recent months to talk about the effects of unresolved grief is Prince Harry, who lost his mother, Princess Diana, when he was twelve years old. Prince Harry admits that he shut down his emotions for twenty years after his mother died—a choice that affected both his personal and professional life. Both he and his brother, Prince William, as well as his sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, are now vocal advocates for mental health, even starting Heads Together, a mental health charity, in 2016.

How do you begin to deal with sorrow and pain that has been ignored for years?

  1. Understand how delayed grief has controlled you. Saying “I can’t hear you” to the pain of loss sets up emotional control mechanisms that influence your relationships with others for years to come. You may stuff your emotions—keeping your distance from others, even those you care about the most. You may also become overly protective of family, friends—anyone you care about—in an effort to prevent further loss.
  2. Seek wise counsel. Invest the time and yes, if need be, the money, in professional counseling to help you work through your grief. Talking with someone who is both objective and skilled will help you unravel the bonds of grief that have held you to the past.
  3. Create a safety net. Not everyone you know will understand the concept of delayed grief. Some people are more “get over it and move on” types of people. Share with friends or family members whom you trust to respect your emotions and your process.
  4. Recognize the purpose. All grief, even delayed grief, allows us to heal. Give yourself the time now to mourn who and what was lost so that you can more fully embrace the life you have now.

“It takes strength to make your way through grief, to grab hold of life, and let it pull you forward.”

Patti Davis (1952-), actress and author


Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind doors marked NeverThings I Never Told You, releasing May 2018, is Beth’s first novel in her women’s fiction series for Tyndale House Publishers.

Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA Award finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there’s more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us.

An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and also enjoys speaking to writers’ groups and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories. Connect with Beth at bethvogt.com.

Tyndale House is giving away a print copy of Things I Never Told You to one of my readers (US only.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Open through 11:59PM May 9, 2018.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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Beth’s post really touched me today, especially in this season of grief we have been in lately. What about you? What spoke to you most about Beth’s fantastic post today?

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79 responses to “Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Beth Vogt & Things I Never Told You

    • Hi, Rebecca: So fun to hear you are reading Things I Never Told You right now. That’s one of an author’s favorite things to hear!

  1. As someone who has experienced both delayed grief and currently grief without closure because of a couple of difficult situations in my life, I can truly relate to the fact that grief is a process that takes time and can’t be rushed. Processing grief doesn’t make the hurt go away, though eventually, it may hurt a little less. We are forever changed by loss, hopefully, in the long run, it will make us better people able to help others.

    • Hi, Kathy: I’m sorry to hear that you are currently experiencing grief. Even as I wrote this blog post, I was telling myself some hard truths too … some truths I’ll need to remember in the future. And yes, others have comforted me by sharing what they’ve learned through loss — and I hope I can do the same.

  2. Cathy

    This is very hard hitting. Very educational narrative and thus thought provoking. We have been there, or our family, or friends. Thank you!

  3. Kay Garrett

    I can relate all too well with the grief process and how each type of grief is different but yet the same. Losing a parent is hard, but having lost our daughter at the all too young age of 17 I know the pain and struggle to survive and more forward. At the same time even a loss of a parent can be different. Loved my Dad but he went quickly so that was one form of grieving. My Mom died slowly with Alzheimer and we were her full time caregiver for several years which is another form of grief. There is no right or wrong way or time limit. Grief is a individual process that we all some times need help getting through but also understanding that it’s real and our realty.

    • Oh, Kay — I just wish I could hug you! Losing a child is an almost unspeakable grief … I’ve walked alongside friends as they traveled that path. And yes, there is no right or wrong way to process grief — and yet, sometimes we do try to tell people to grieve “our” way or “this” way or sometimes “not at all.” At it drives the pain inward — creating delayed grief.

  4. Danielle Hammelef

    I lost my dog of 13 years last Thanksgiving and am amazed how strong the grief floods back even now. I didn’t realized how much my dog meant to me or was such a huge part of my everyday life until he was gone. I have been blessed so far not to have lost a human friend or relative close to me, but this book will help me understand the grief process so I can better help my friends who have recently lost parents.

    • Danielle: I’ve talked to so many people who’ve lost pets. And grieved the loss of my own dogs and cats … I still tear up at times and it’s been years. Pets become parts of our lives. They make us laugh. They provide comfort. They are knit into the fabric of our family. It shouldn’t surprise us that we grieve them, but so often we are surprised at how the tears come months and years later. I’m sorry for your loss.

  5. Dianne Casey

    I liked how Beth explained that there are different types of grief and that we all grieve in different ways.

  6. Arletta

    I love your advice about delayed grief. I lost my mother the week before I went on a missions trip with the youth group from church. The trip had been planned for a year so it wasn’t really something I could back out of. My mom’s funeral was two days before we left so I stuffed all the feelings down so I could be there for the youth. It hit me much later – almost a year later and I wondered why then but then thinking through it, it made sense that it would hit me at some time! Thanks for sharing.

    • Arletta: Your story is a perfect example of delayed grief. The need to go on — to do the mission trip. You probably didn’t want to let the youth down. You had responsibilities. Possibly people even said going on the trip would be good for you. I’m not suggesting it was the wrong thing to do … But yes, it required that you stuff all the feelings down until later.

  7. Gloria

    I have had different situations that caused grief (loss of parent and other family members) but also a relational situation where I have recognized the stages that one goes through. Prayer, scripture, journaling and talking with someone all help me cope. I feel that to delay dealing with it makes it harder for me. I have to deal with issues or they cause me more stress.

  8. Karen

    I just finished Where Hope Begins, and it also touches on delayed grief quite a bit. I highly recommend it!

    I need to share this article with someone. I won’t say who, but I know someone who experienced a great loss and has been carrying on well. I know that there are hidden wounds, though, that they have compartmentalized.

    • Karen: Cathy West is a dear friend and a talented author and I love her book Where Hope Begins! I hope that, if you do share this post with someone else, they are encouraged.

  9. Perrianne Askew

    This is an excellent post that could be incredibly helpful to someone who needs to hear this today. It’s good to know that not all people grieve the same way and it’s not a sign of weakness to seek out help. Very well done!

  10. Sonnetta Jones

    Unfortunately grief is something I am quite familiar with. A month ago I lost my brother in law. I saw him hours before he passed from cancer. Even though I knew it was coming it still has not hit me. I cried a lot before he passed but nothing really since. Same thing happened over a year ago with my twin. I finally broke down at her gravesite when I saw it for the first time. One of the things I pray for is that I allow God to direct my grief. I want to take time off to deal with everything.

    • Sonnetta: I’m praying for you right now as you’ve had such a lot of grief to deal with. I’m a twin, too — I have a fraternal twin sister. Our relationship is complicated and so there is grief even now with that. But you are carrying the grief of being a “twinless twin,” which is another type of grief — layers upon layers. I admire your courage in asking God to direct your grief.

  11. Candice Foster

    Thanks for mentioning the need to grieve loss of abilities thru serious illness/accident/amputation. You have to grieve before you can move forward in a healthy way.

    • Carrie

      That is so true. I know, for me, the more debilitating my autoimmune stuff gets, the more I have to genuinely stop and let myself grief the loss of what I can no longer do. And even then, it still hits me out of the blue sometimes

    • Candice: My husband is a physician and was in the military (24 years active duty), so I’m familiar with the issues of illness/accidents/amputation because of his service and profession. A number of my books have military threads through them, and one of them has a character who is a double-amputee.

  12. Merry

    I experienced delayed grief when my mom died. I didn’t have time to grieve as she was taking care of my 89 year old grandma so I had to move grandma in with us out of state, clean out and sell my mom’s home etc.
    I like what Beth said about sharing your emotions with trusted friends or family.
    My faith and prayer also brought me peace.

    • Carrie

      Leaning on God is so important – and sharing what you’re feeling with friends and family. Yes! Thanks, Merry

  13. Winnie Thomas

    A very wise and helpful post, Beth! I finished your book a few days ago, and I’m still trying to find the words to write a review. I loved it and didn’t want it to end.

    I lost both of my twin sisters (from different types of cancer), my father, and my mother all within 18 months time about 7-8 years ago. Talk about a tough time! If I didn’t have my faith that I’d see them again in the afterlife, I’m not sure how I could have handled it. There are still times that I miss them terribly. There are 7 surviving siblings, and we’re very close, so we find comfort within our family.

  14. MS Barb

    Thank you for talking about grief–there is no “one size fits all” how/when to grieve. A man in my church died of cancer when he was in his early 40’s & left behind a wife & 5 children. About 6 months after his death, the Mom took her 5th grade daughter to the doctor…the doctor told the Mom that after 6 months, she should “be over it” referring to the loss of her Dad–NO–she’ll never be “over it!” Memories come back totally unbidden–some will make you laugh, and others will make you cry…

    • Ms. Barb: I have to admit that I read your comment to my husband, who I mentioned is a family physician. His response was, “What?!” — to think a doctor would say “be over it” to someone six months after such a loss. Or that anyone would say that. I am so, so sorry. And yes, memories will come back, and both the ones that make us cry and the ones that make us laugh need to be embraced.

  15. MJSH

    I haven’t thought too much about grief recently but this post made me realize that I need to make time for those around me who need that outlet to grieve openly.

  16. Pam K.

    We all deal with grief differently but it’s so important that we DO deal with it, not just stuff it away and deny it. It’s been six years since my sister died and about two and a half since my mom passed. Sometimes it’s still hard, especially on their birthdays and holidays. Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a reason the hurt has returned. THINGS I NEVER TOLD YOU sounds like a helpful book to read.

    • Pam: Yes, it is important we deal with our grief. If we’re not, we need to ask ourselves why aren’t we facing the grief, the loss? Is it lack of time? Is it because we need to find someone to talk to or, as some have suggested, because we should journal our thoughts? Or perhaps do unresolved issues with the person who died complicate our ability to grieve?

  17. I’m a big fan of Beth K. Vogt and am excited to see her here. This is a touching post. As I was going through traumatic experience several years ago, someone told me to be sure to take time to grieve and that was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. Grieving is so important in the healing process. I was inspired by this post to try to be understanding of those around me who might be experiencing delayed grief.

    • Hi, Ellie: And thank you for being so encouraging — that blesses me. And you are so blessed to have someone who told you to take time to grieve — but of course you know that.

  18. Caryl Kane

    Through the grace of God, I’ve learned to grieve in a healthy manner. He has placed dear friends in my life who have helped me through the process.

    Beth, thank you so much for addressing this tough issue.

    • Caryl: I was eager to write this post, but I so appreciate how it has been strengthened by the continued conversation here in the comments.

  19. Jocelyn

    I just finished reading this book and it’s fabulous! My mom died when I was in my 20’s and it was so difficult. No one my age had lost a parent. And no one really understood the depth of grief. Even after all these years, there is still a hole in my heart where my Mom resided. Thank you Beth for taking an in depth look on how people deal with grief and tragedy.

    • Jocelyn: Grieving is especially difficult when you are the first one to walk that road in your group of friends. I imagine you are all the more compassionate to others experiencing the same kind of loss. And thank you for letting me know that you liked Things I Never Told You.

    • Natalya: It blesses me to hear that the reviews for TINTY are good. Writing the book was, at times, fun … challenging … like pouring my heart out on the page … a bit of real life … laugh-out-loud … tears … yeah, real life …
      I’m starting to plot book 3 in the series in June.

  20. Anne

    Your beautiful post touched my heart and resonated with me. Losing my mother still is sad and left a huge void in my life. Dealing with loss does not get easier and is something we are told to be strong about. I have dealt with so many difficulties, health wise and serious life threatening medical concerns for 6 years that sometimes I wonder if I am being punished.

    • Anne: I paused to pray for you before replying to your comment.
      No … no, you are not being punished.
      I’ve dealt with ongoing chronic pain and some ongoing health issues. At times I’ve wanted to ask God “why?” I’ve learned to ask, “Where are you in this, God?” I trust (again and again and again) that He has not abandoned me in this or in any other situation.
      Sometimes life is just H.A.R.D. — and it doesn’t stop. I can’t explain why … and that’s why I opted for the other question.
      I allow myself times to cry. I look for opportunities to rest. Grieving demands that our bodies and our minds and our hearts rest.
      Laughter heals, too. Do you have a favorite comedian? I like the old Dick Van Dyke TV shows — he’s such a classic slapstick comedian. And I also like Brian Regan — great, clean standup comedy. A friend recommended him to me when I was recovering from a life-threatening illness.

  21. Linda Romer

    My mom is dying from terminal cancer and my two sisters and I have been caring for her since November. It’s been very hard and I have been having trouble with one of my sisters and it’s just compounding to the tragic event of watching my mother die.

    • Linda: It’s heartbreaking when unhealthy or unresolved family dynamics come into play during times like these — when all you want to do is focus on your mom. When really, you barely have enough emotion to care for your mom. I would encourage you to live according to Romans 12:18, which reminds us to live at peace with others — as much as it depends on us. This means that we can’t always determine by our actions whether there is peace or not.

  22. Vivian Furbay

    Talk about a sad and touch situation. It would be interesting to see if the sisters can over come their differences and heal their relationships.

    • Vivian: I just finished book 2 in The Thatcher Sisters Series and will be starting book 3 in June. Yes … there are tough things each sister must face and make choices about — and it affects their relationships.

  23. Awesome interview Carrie and Beth! I’m so excited to read this book! I’ve been seeing the reviews and it seems like it’s been on everyone’s blog this week!?

    • Hi, Susan: Thanks for sharing in the excitement about Things I Never Told You — I’m certainly getting excited, with the book releasing in 4 days! 🙂

  24. Priscila

    Losing a sister is a hardship I can’t imagine going through it. I’ve lost a cousin who grow up just a few blocks away from our childhood home, but although he was 5 (and pretty much in love with baby me), I had barely turned 1 at the time. I did feel his loss as I’d cry every time someone left our home as it would be the last. I did remember several trips to the cemetery as my mom and her sister when to grieve her son.

  25. Melissa Andres

    My sister-in-law was killed in a car accident when she was 18. I can see some of my husband’s grief and my m-i-l in this post. Grief is so unique and personal and yet there’s a tie that binds…especially for brothers and sisters in Christ!

    • Melissa: I do believe that faith helps us walk through grief — and yet, sometimes we can hide behind our faith instead of allowing ourselves to grieve who or what we’ve lost.

  26. Anya

    I am experiencing some of my first real experiences with grief. But two very different kinds. Loss of a grandparent and loss of a career. Your words speak to my heart and I am eager to read your book. Thank you for putting your words and thoughts out there for all of us.

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