'Mourning Has Broken:' Thank You, Erin Davis
I was first introduced to 98.1 CHFI, and by extension, its morning show hosts Erin Davis and Mike Cooper, a handful of years ago. One of my dear friends who I was carpooling with at the time is something of a Christmas nut and loved the station because it would play nothing but Christmas tunes throughout the month of December. Ultimately, I heard the morning show's hosts, Davis and Cooper, gamely singing "Baby It's Cold Outside" and sounding like they were having a blast. To say I was hooked from then on wouldn't be an overstatement; however, I didn't always get great reception on the car radio and past the month of December, I would move on to a station that I could receive well in my car, only to "reunite" with Davis and Cooper the following year. Maybe I'm a bit of a Christmas nut myself.
Sometime around 2016, I caught back up with CHFI and reacquainted myself with Davis. I'd always enjoyed listening to Davis; there's a warmth in her voice that draws you to her, and she seemed so open on the air that I was drawn in. The fact that she and Cooper always shared a lot of laughs didn't hurt, either, particularly when you got to listen to them on your way into work. When I discovered, quite by accident, that Davis maintained an online journal, I was intrigued and checked it out. The rest, as they say, was history, and through the journal, I followed her eventual retirement from the world of radio (and her occasional forays back into said world), her move to BC with her beloved husband Rob and her love of her daughter Lauren, whom I learned passed away at the age of 24 in 2015.
I couldn't even wrap my head around what that must feel like, and as a parent myself, I don't want to, in all honesty. To endure such heart-shattering loss is unimaginable, but to do it as a public figure? I couldn't even imagine.
Anyhow, as I started going through Davis' journals from about 2016 on, I soon learned that she was in the process of writing a book about her experiences in picking up the pieces after her only child's death, and when I saw the book in my local drug store, I couldn't help myself. I picked it up and started casually flipping through.
Here's the thing about Mourning Has Broken: while it discusses the journey that Davis took in navigating life after Lauren died, it also has powerful messages about navigating grief itself. It lays bare some of the things that Davis learned about herself in such poignant terms, I found myself connecting with her even though I'd never even met the woman. I hadn't expected that, to be sure, and I'd only perused some of the pages.
I then went home and watched some of the videos of her book tour interviews, which are generally linked in her journal. As she discusses the process of writing this book, you realize quickly that catharsis wasn't a part of the research, and when she says that there were pieces of the journey she and her husband Rob took through the grief that she'd forgotten and had to revisit, I could only imagine the sheer courage it took to face that head on. Also, while the story is unquestionably hers, Rob's and of course, Lauren's, it seems to become a story that anyone who's gone through significant loss can relate to.
In watching the interviews, I had an opportunity to reflect on my own process of navigating my mother's passing, just six days after my oldest was born. While there are several books on the market about dealing with loss, many seem to be very much about the psychology of grief. In the brief parts of Mourning Has Broken that I've read and in seeing Davis talk about the book on screen, I realized that her story in many ways becomes a story that pretty much everyone can draw something from.
I'll definitely be grabbing my own copy of Mourning Has Broken on my next payday, and I am humbled that Davis was able - and continues to be able - to share such a devastating story with such warmth and dignity.