What began as a coping mechanism has turned into a way to reach others as they struggle with the loss of a parent.
Waxahachie resident Beckey Berry’s book called “Finding Peace: After the Loss of a Parent” was her way of making it through the grieving process, and a tool to encourage others as they experience the same thing.
The book chronicles the journey of Berry and her father as he battled bladder cancer. She said it’s broken down into three phases.
“Phase one is about me and my dad,” Berry said. “Phase two is about his cancer battle, and the final part is about my reaction and the grieving process.”
Berry said she started out writing the details about the situation for personal reasons, and it slowly began to evolve into a book.
“I began journaling the events because it was more of a therapy for me,” she said. “As I went along, I realized it was becoming something I wanted my family members to have a copy.”
She added that during her time of grieving, she searched the Internet looking for anything that would help her cope with the situation, but she wasn’t able to find anything. Berry said that was another reason she chose to journal the experience.
Berry continued by saying there is more to the book than all that. She said she hopes to give people a glimpse of the wonderful Christian example her father was. Being an only child, Berry said her father was her best friend and lived the Christian life for her to see.
“When I was 10 years old, my dad used me for a college project,” she said. “He was taking a class in psychology, and was doing a study on behaviors.”
Berry said she felt honored to have her father choose her for the project, and he concluded that she was a very loving and caring child. She added that because she is an only child her father played Barbie and ping pong with her on a regular basis.
She recounted the time she and her father took a vacation together. She said it was one of the best vacations she’s ever experienced.
“We took a trip to Houston, and he let me plan the whole thing,” Berry said. “I had full control of the entire week, and I remember my dad referring to it as one of the best vacations ever.”
As she recalled the events leading up to her father’s death, Berry’s eyes welled up with tears.
“I remember getting the call from my mother telling me the doctor’s said my father didn’t have very long,” she said. “I got in my car and I sped the whole three hours trying to make it there in time. But when I got there, he was very responsive and coherent. I couldn’t tell anything was wrong with him.”
Berry said that was a Wednesday, but by the following Saturday, his health had deteriorated very quickly.
“By Saturday night, he was struggling to breathe,” she said through tears. “I had to feed him his food because he wasn’t able to feed himself. At that point, he refused to be put back on a ventilator, so the doctors decided to give him a shot to help with the pain.”
Berry said she stepped out of the room to call her husband, when she heard knocking on the wall and her daughter trying to get her attention to inform her that her father had passed away.
Berry said she knows how difficult it is to lose a parent for those who are adults, especially if they are close to that parent. She said she wants her book to serve as a way for them to cope as they grieve the loss of their parent.
Berry is a native Texan. She and her husband Joel reside in Waxahachie, but she grew up in East Texas in the town of Atlanta. She earned an associate degree in business administration. She is now an administrative associate at UT Southwestern Medical Center. For more information about her book or to purchase a copy, visit amazon.com.
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