Every parent lives with the unspeakable fear of the loss of a
child. Life holds no greater indignity than that of a parent who
outlives their child. When the unspeakable happens, the rising tide
and waves of grief seem unsurvivable. This book is a firsthand
account of a mother whose son was tragically killed in an accident
and her journey through that unbearable grief.
This unflinching look at how a parent's reality is forever
changed after the death of a child is both heartbreaking and
hopeful. The grieving will recognize themselves in many places and
feel less alone in their loss.
Everyone's grief is unique and so will their journey be through
that grief. This example of one mother's path will bring hope to
the grieving that they can find theirs.
FROM THE AUTHOR
PROLOGUE JULY 19, 1997
"My son died tragically." "At first it was just raw pain,
and writing was something I could do with that pain in the dark
I'd walk the floor, crying, stifling the moans, rocking and
holding myself, then put some words on paper.
My daughter found the beginnings of the journal and said, "You
should write, Mom, but don't write about Marc."
I prowled libraries, looking for a book about my experience.
I wanted to be with another woman who had lost a son, walk with
her in the solitude, let her explain it to me, help me make sense
I never found the book.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
In "The Blue Balloon: Journey Through Grief, " Sally Mathews
takes us down a path that all parents fear. She shares her
reflections on losing her 19-year-old son, Marc, as he approached
manhood. While this journey belongs to Sally and her family, she is
not the only one who has travelled this path. This story is a
painful yet remarkable testament to the deepest love and the
darkest loss that one could ever experience. Children should never
die before their parents. That is not the natural order of
There are many of books about the immeasurable and intense grief
of losing a child. Most first person accounts are sensitive and
often prescriptive. Sally's story doesn't tell us what to do or how
to feel. Instead, she lets us in on her personal and very private
journey that may teach us more than any clinical or religious
It has taken Sally 30 years to tell her story and it is told
with grace and grit. Through her tears and pain, Sally models hope,
purpose and what is possible in the face of such loss.
This is a significant book that is beautifully illustrated with
elegant pen and ink drawings by Carole Jo Dennis, Marc's sister and
Sally's daughter, and with watercolors by artist Janice
"The Blue Balloon" is a warm, sensitive and hopeful story that
will resonate with parents who have taken their own journey of loss
and yet it is accessible to those who wish to understand. It should
be read by anyone who has lost a child or knows someone who
-Anthony G. Butto, DSW, LCSW, QCSW
Director of The Courtyard Counseling Center
"The Blue Balloon" is a stunningly beautiful evocation of Sally
Mathews' process in the aftermath of her son's death.
-Catherine McLaughlin, M.ED., Licensed Psychologist
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