MTL Christmas - Page 79

STORY BEHIND THE BOOK The holiday season is filled with anticipation as families gather to embrace beloved traditions and time-tested recipes. For some, it’s anything but joyful. Those who have experienced the loss of a loved one know that the holiday season inevitably stirs an emotional whirlpool of grief, loneliness and depression. Fiction author Phyllis Clark Nichols offers a heart-warming remedy for the brokenhearted through her new book, The Christmas Portrait. Its true-to-life storyline is based around young Kate, who is struggling to adjust to life’s changes following the death of her mother. When a conversation with her grandmother convinces Kate that there is Christmas in heaven, she is determined to send her mother a special gift. Nichols masterfully tells a tale that reaches beyond the realm of a fiction story to a faith-stirring instrument. “Faith in a loving Father enabled this family (in the novel) to deal with their grief honestly and to keep going through the most difficult and darkest days,” she explains. “This family understands how important their faith is. The same is true for me. My faith is central to my thinking, my feeling and my doing. My definition of faith is simply depending on God. Sometimes with life’s problems, that is all we can do, and it is always enough.” Nichols says she has worked hard to present an accurate portrayal of grief in this novel. “Never did I want to gloss over it or to dismiss it,” she adds. “It’s real and it’s hard. Yet, hope is real, too. I want to bring hope and light for those who might be grieving or for those who might be walking alongside someone who is grieving.” Written from the perspective of a child, the novel offers a rare glimpse into Kate, the main character’s journey through grief. Children who have suffered the loss of a parent are especially susceptible to heartache during the holiday season. There is much research available on coping mechanisms for children in the midst of their grief to help with )չ