On Loss

for the past few months I’ve been working on this trailer:
On Loss and Living Onward by Melissa Dalton-Bradford from Michelle Lehnardt on Vimeo.

It’s long. Nine and a half minutes (after I insisted it could be no more than three), but you can’t rush grief. You can’t rush people sharing their hearts.

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I think, once you watch it, you’ll be amazed by these lovely lovely souls. I’ve come to love each of their faces, each of their hearts.

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If I’ve learned nothing else from making this video, it’s this– when people are hurting, just wrap your arms around them and let them cry, or yell, or talk and talk and talk, or just sit silently, knowing you are there, knowing they are loved. As Eliza Smith (our brilliant songwriter) stated, “There’s almost never the right thing to say. But there’s almost always something you can do.”

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I’ve been anxiously awaiting Melissa’ book On Loss and Living Onward: Collected Voices for the Grieving and Those Who Would Mourn with Them since she told me of it’s existence years ago. When publishers rejected her manuscript saying, “Grief doesn’t sell.” I marveled at their shortsightedness. Everyone experiences loss. As Melodie Webb (above) said, “If we love, we will experience loss. And those who love the most are more prone to grief.”

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Every person in the video echoed the central themes of Melissa’s book– let people grieve, take your time, speak the names of those you love, include them in your prayers.

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Marshall Smith, who lost his Annemarie to cancer, said, “Grief is a very powerful and wonderful emotion… it’s helped me understand how much I love my wife and want to be with her forever.

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On Loss is a weighty book. Easy to read, yet I want to mark every page, ponder each new morsel of truth. I’m reading it slowly, praying the words sink into my pores, change every cell in my body, until I slowly, finally come into the light.

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May 4, 2014



  1. Linn

    May 8, 2014

    Oh my word, it seems like 9 minutes wasn’t even enough for me. It is gorgeous and beautiful and touching and exactly what all of us need to watch. Thank you Michelle.

  2. Cath

    May 8, 2014

    I love these photos – they enhance the trailer. Especially since you chose ones of them smiling, genuinely smiling. I know this was such a labor of love. And what a gift it is to all of us. Thank you Michelle.

  3. Selwyn

    May 8, 2014

    It’s a gorgeous video, Michelle, your best yet. Thank you.

  4. Julie Tolman

    May 8, 2014

    Michelle, This is beautiful. Thank you. I wish it was longer!

  5. Heather

    May 8, 2014

    Beautiful photos, Michelle. My name is Heather and I have a question about your blog! Please email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com 🙂

  6. Lisa

    May 8, 2014

    I imagine mucking through all of our grief was difficult and draining. And I can’t imagine anyone else I would trust with this sacred grief mucking. The video is beautiful and represents exactly what Melissa expresses in her book. Love you friend…and I for one am touched and ever grateful for your infinite talents.

  7. jkdekelly

    May 9, 2014

    After watching this video and reading your post, I want to buy and savor this book. I know that there have been so many times that I want to reach out to those who have lost, and don’t know how to do it. We all need this book–both those in the throes of loss, and those of us who love them. Thanks for that beautiful trailer!

  8. Tracy

    May 10, 2014

    Oh Michelle – the beauty in the sad is just too much to take. xo

  9. Kayci

    May 12, 2014

    Beautiful. You are so talented!

Comments are closed.