Thanksgiving is often a time for reflection but while we are examining our own life circumstances, it can be hard to imagine that someone else, somewhere in the world is feeling or experiencing the very same thing.
For Atlanta native Lane Elizabeth Hall, this Thanksgiving will be particularly difficult, marking the loss of two people very special to her -- her father, who died on Father's Day and her ex-boyfriend, who died on Christmas Eve.
"Thanksgiving this year is going to be really emotionally charged. I am not looking forward to it, but for me it will be a day that more so than any other Thanksgiving that I have had, I am going to devote entirely to my family and the people who are important to me," said Hall, 29.
Hall's story of loss and healing was one of the 101 inspirational stories featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles (CSS, $14.95) which was released Nov. 1.
Telling the story of a challenging love relationship and its tragic but somehow peaceful ending, proved therapeutic, she said. It was the first time she had shared details of a relationship that spanned five years and veered between blissful and unhealthy. It ended with her ex-boyfriend's untimely death and the unusual way in which she believed he shared one final communication with her.
"It wasn’t a story that I necessarily wanted to tell anyone specifically, but I needed to share it with the universe," said Hall.
When the story was selected to appear in the new Chicken Soup series, Hall said she had mixed emotions. She was happy to have the story published but with that joy came the fear and vulnerability of having such a personal story out in the world.
When taken with the many other stories of miracles, answered prayers and other life changing events, Hall's story seems right at home.
There is the story of a woman who was led from a burning car to safety by a stranger that only she could see. The mom who sent her daughter a quirky message from heaven in a box of earrings. Or the unemployed college graduate who asked God for a sign that his life was on the right track and got a very literal answer.
Each story offers a quick look at the real things that happen every day in the lives of real people and serves as a reminder that good things can happen when we need them the most.
Hall said she is still struggling to make sense of the losses she has experienced this past year, but she is focused on cherishing and nurturing the relationships she does have in her life. She hopes the book will help others who may be going through their own battles to find some strength in knowing that they are not alone.
"If nothing else there is comfort in reading stories of people who have walked through the same kind of struggles that someone else may be walking though, to be able to know that you are not the only one who has been through this. This is part of the human experience," Hall said.
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