The list of names included in the dedication of the new book, “Grief Diaries: Shattered” is lengthy-- 28 to be exact--and among them is Brandon Stanley Walter Thomas.

 Kim Thomas, of Cochrane, is one of the contributors to the book that features 25 powerful stories exposing the aftermath of a crime that claims the lives of innocent people by impaired/drugged drivers and catapults the devastated families into long legal journeys that rarely yields satisfaction.

Desiring to raise awareness about the dangers of impaired driving, each writer offered to share the story of their lives before the deaths of loved ones and the haunting life that follows.

It were these same reasons that encouraged Thomas to be included in the book and is the only Canadian contributor.

Thomas recounts the family life and the life of her son Brandon, who was killed when convicted impaired driver Ryan Gibson hit him in a head-on crash on Dec. 6, 2012, prior to the collision. She then documents the frustration that followed in seeking justice and the agonizing grief she bares.

“The Greatest Gift: Brandon's Story” is chapter 22 in the book.

“Not much has changed for us since that day Brandon was killed. I still visit Brandon’s roadside memorial twice a week, I sit with him there and talk to him. It is the place I feel closest to him; the place I would have died for him; the place I still would die for him if I could only give him his life back. Every single morning when I open my eyes to start another day, it’s like Brandon dies all over again,” she writes in her 33-page account.

“The grief is crippling when I realized that today will not be the day Brandon comes home, nor will any day. Every single night when I lay in Brandon’s bed, I am consumed with emptiness for Brandon and the realization that he missed another whole day of his life. Yet, I am comforted by the knowledge that I am one day closer to seeing him again.”

Shattered is the 17th title in the popular Grief Diaries book series created by Lynda Cheldelin Fell, an award-winning author and board president of the (US) National Grief and Hope Coalition. The series tackles a wide spectrum of relevant tropics, including alcoholism, eating disorders, mental illness, endometriosis, rape, divorce, homelessness, bullying and now victims of impaired/drugged driving.

In the book's preface, Fell explains how she came to discover the healing power of writing about the loss suffered. In 2007, she lost her 15-year-old daughter in a car accident.

“In the aftermath of losing Aly, I eventually discovered that helping others was a powerful way to heal my own heart,” she explained in the Preface. “The Grief Diaries series was born and built on this belief. By writing books narrating our journeys through hardship and losses, our written words become a portable support group for others. When we swap stories, we feel less alone. It is comforting to know someone else understands the shoes we walk in, and the challenges we face along the way.”

Thomas became connected to the project through a Facebook support/advocacy group for victims of impaired drivers and over an 18-month period fine-tuned her submission with the book's authors, Cheldelin Fell and Bill and Julie Downs.

“For me, the real value of the book is to create awareness and to let people know of the different choices available to them other than drinking and driving,” explained Thomas. “Obviously I wrote it to keep Brandon's memory alive, but it was also to let other people know that they're not on their own and what they're going through is normal.”

She hopes to give a copy of the book to the Cochrane Public Library. She also would like to see the book become required reading in the counselling received by those convicted of impaired driving, though she holds out little hope for this to occur.

At this point, she doesn't know what stores will carry the book but said it will be available for purchase at

Source: Cochrane Times


Last updated on: 2016-12-19 | Link to this post