A journey through grief after one of life's worst tragedies - akin to being in a leaky boat with no oar, directions or dock in sight and finally reaching the shore.
In December 2003, Luleta Brown experienced one of life’s worst personal tragedies: her healthy unborn son died unexpectedly, four days before his official due date. She was told it was a “vague” mishap.
The arrival of Luleta’s son was to have been the miraculous fulfillment of a long-awaited dream. The grief was profound, unlike any other grieving over death that she had ever experienced (and she had grieved over death many times).
The subsequent days and weeks were a struggle; many times she questioned her proven resiliency and deep-rooted coping skills. As much as she tried, she could not seem to get to the point of total acceptance of this tragedy. She refused to accept that her life could be put through such upheaval for no reason; she did not believe fate had the right to do that.
After an arduous battle, Luleta made the choice to create a reason; she had what she can only refer to as an epiphany — the experience of an insight — to write this book. While doing so, she discovered that the process of writing the poems was helping her to confront emotions she had not yet confronted; it felt like a cleansing process. Luleta was seized in a writing frenzy; she wrote all the time, practically non-stop. Many times, she thought she had covered all the essential areas, but then an important scenario would present itself, out of the blue, to be included; for example, “The Most Natural Question in the World” and “Norman.” Some topics are approached in a direct and candid way.
The poems in All Angels Have Wings explore the gamut of emotions that Luleta experienced and struggled with. It was truly a journey through grief to hope and to finally embracing life again in a real way.
"My heart swelled with emotion and connection when reading Luleta's writings. Her hard work and resilience bears the gift of greater empathy and compassion for herself and others. This book will validate and support those in grief as well as those supporting the bereaved, guiding them through the heart to hope again." -- Pam Fitzgerald, R.N., M.A., C.T.S., Director, The Canadian Cewntre for Bereavement Education and Grief Counselling
"Luleta's words would be a valuable asset in helping clients and therapists alike to deal with not only stillborn deaths but the loss of any cherished loved one. I would recommend All Angels Have Wings be included in the list of resources or resource libraries utilized by grief counsellors -- Leslie Vieni, R.N., Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
"It will be therapeutic and illuminating to others who have gone through loss; it transcends Luleta's loss. A great poem." -- Janusz Dukszta, L.R.C.P.&S.(1), C.R.C.P.(C)
"Many of the poems touched me in a very deep way. I especially appreciate those that speak to experiences and feelings that we don't often speak about." -- Christine Jonas-Simpson, R.N., PhD., Bereaved Mother and Women's Health Researcher
"Luleta's book will be a lovely addition to our lending library at Bereaved Families of Ontario, Toronto Chapter." -- Betty Ann Rutledge, Program Manager, Bereaved Families of Ontario, Toronto Chapter
About the Author:
Luleta Brown resides north of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, Karlheinz. All Angels Have Wings is her first published work, which came about in an unforeseen way.
In December 2003 as she and her husband lovingly awaited the highly anticipated arrival of their son, they were hit by a tragedy: four days before the official due date, he died from what appeared to be strangulation by the umbilical cord. He had been a healthy baby. This was purported to be a “vague” mishap.
Luleta calls this tragedy her “big one” that surpassed all other tragedies she had experienced. After she overcame the initial shock of her loss, the subsequent grieving led Luleta on a sabbatical journey for a year as she tried to come to terms with, and find some meaning from, the loss. The result: poems based on the events that took place from the first seconds of being informed of the death of her son through to her return to work in January 2005. Together the poems weave Luleta’s story as they track her grief.
Stillborn deaths are life’s realities that many in our society do not know how to handle. We often do not speak about such tragedies.
Luleta believes that background and culture play a role in how we deal with grief from life’s tragedies. Luleta was born and raised in the island of Jamaica. In this country, grief is an accepted life reality; people truly allow themselves to show their grief without feeling restrained by societal taboos. It is perfectly acceptable for you to “bawl” your heart out over the death of a loved one if that is what your emotions direct you to do; this is seen as a positive thing. People channel other emotions the same way: when they laugh they truly allow themselves to feel their laughter in an unfettered way.
She believes that there is a taboo in her adopted country about overt displays of grief or other human emotions. People tend to internalize their emotions more and seem to experience greater difficulty in attaining true and lasting healing.
Luleta believes that her cultural background played a role in sustaining her to carry her grief without a crutch, and she believes that because of this, her healing will be a lasting one.
She also believes that sometimes the subject matter chooses you. It is her wish that this documentation of her emotional journey through poetry not only give a voice to those who are confronted with the death of their child before birth, but also offer hope to others who are experiencing their “big one.” She now knows that it is possible to truly embrace life again.
Luleta works for an employee support organization and is training to become a grief facilitator.