A Heart’s Journey to Forgiveness
By Terese Luikens
SANDPOINT, IDAHO — Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US and has a profound effect on loved ones who are left reeling from the death.* Coping with the death of a loved one due to suicide is said to cause pain that is harder to navigate than if they died by another means.** Television journalist Anderson Cooper, whose brother died by suicide, said, “Try as you might to remember how a person lived his life, you always end up thinking about how he ended it.”***
Terese Luikens’s beloved father took his life when she was thirteen years old, leaving Terese emotionally alone to cope with the pain and shame of his death. According to the Child Mind Institute, the biggest risk to a child after a suicide is not being encouraged to express their feelings and get to an understanding of the death that they can live with.****
“Though it was an awful and life-altering event, no one in my family, including my mother, ever mentioned it. My siblings and I grew up under a dark cloud of shame, which accompanies survivors of suicide,” Luikens said.
Luikens documents the impact of her father’s suicide on her own life in her memoir, A Heart’s Journey to Forgiveness published by Redemption Press. The sixth of seven children, Terese grew up in an unstable household—invisible to her mom yet cherished by her alcoholic dad. His suicide added to the dysfunction in the family and resulted in far-reaching emotional ramifications.
“The chain reaction of my dad’s suicide brought pain and chaos to my already turbulent childhood, along with emotional consequences I’d have to deal with throughout my entire life,” Luikens said. “But healing is possible, and A Heart’s Journey to Forgiveness is my life story of finding a way out of the shame.”
From her rocky childhood to finding love and having her own family, Luikens’s memoir documents her journey to escape the shame of her past, find healing and love, learn to trust, and discover faith in a real and personal God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Writer Terese Luikens contributes articles for Mother Earth News, The Secret Place, Decision Magazine, The Upper Room, Hearts at Home, and the Epoch Times, and publishes her own blog, Why Bother? A schoolteacher and a yoga instructor, Terese lives in Sandpoint, Idaho, with her husband and enjoys being mother to three grown sons and grandmother to her much-loved grandchildren.
For review copies and media interviews, contact
Terese Luikens at email@example.com
Suggested Interview Questions:
- As the sixth child among seven, your sister said, “you were born into chaos.” Why did you want to write about your chaotic family life and upbringing? Who did you have in mind when you wrote A Heart’s Journey to Forgiveness?
- Your mother, who was emotionally absent from you, seemed to be more present for your other siblings. How have you made peace with that?
- Though your dad was an alcoholic and you were aware of his faults, he still was your primary parent and the one who made you feel loved and valuable. Tell us a little about your dad and what he meant to you.
- The emotional ramifications of parental suicide are far-reaching. How did your dad’s suicide affect you beyond the immediate pain and grief?
- You discovered faith in God as a young adult. What role has faith played in your emotional recovery from your dad’s suicide and your relationship with your mom?
- Forgiveness is in your book title. What was your heart’s journey to forgiveness like? And who did you have to forgive?
- What advice would you give someone who is dealing with the shame that is often felt by the death of a loved one due to suicide?