Mark Ireland learned how to embrace joy again after suffering the loss of a child.

He shared, “My biggest life challenge has been the death of my youngest son, Brandon, in January, 2004. I think it’s fair to say I have overcome the challenge of that painful event, seeing that I lead a fulfilling life and have recaptured joy—something that initially seemed impossible. I still miss Brandon’s physical presence, and occasionally shed tears at unexpected times, yet I’m usually able to keep my focus on happy memories.”

Mark continued, “In terms of my spirituality, I’d say this affected me in several ways. First, I now fully appreciate everything and everyone in my life and don’t take them for granted. I also found a greater sense of purpose, discovering that I could truly make a difference in the lives of other people. Also, I now think about almost everything in spiritual terms—contemplating the potential implications of my words and actions, considering whether I’ll be helping or hurting in each situation. My spirituality is now more experiential and less theoretical.”

Mark talked about his book, “Let me provide a brief synopsis of my book. After Brandon’s death I began a search for answers to some deep questions about life, death, and life after death. Growing up, my father was both a Minister and a Psychic—a seemingly unusual combination. My father felt his abilities were God given—facilitated by the same force as many of miracle stories in scripture, and this made sense to me.

So subsequent to Brandon’s passing I retraced the path blazed by my father, first meeting with Allison Dubois, subject of the hit network show, Medium. I later participated in a University experiment investigating survival of consciousness, taped for a Discovery Channel feature. These sessions and others, supplemented by dramatic direct personal experiences, brought a deep sense of solace and confirmation about my son’s well-being in a realm beyond this physical existence.

My book, Soul Shift: Finding Where the Dead Go is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is also available on the shelves of some Barnes & Noble stores, as well as many independent bookstores, and can be ordered by any store that doesn’t stock it. For links to online retailers in the U.S. and abroad, people should just visit my website,”

Mark teamed up with an acquantance, Elizabeth Boisson to expand the success she has had with her group, Parents United in Loss, to form Helping Parents Heal (

He explained, “Bringing people together in a safe environment where they could openly share stories about their children and form new bonds with others in the same situation. From these meetings, strong relationships were formed and most people seemed to experience an accelerated healing process.

Helping Parents Heal is unique because we allow for the open discussion of spiritual topics.

You may recall the old saying, ‘It takes one to know one’ because that’s really the way it is when it comes to parents who have lost children. The bottom line is that I can relate to other bereaved parents because I’ve been through the same thing…I know how they feel and understand many of the difficulties they face. And as someone who has found the silver lining associated with loss, I’m able to share hope with others—that they too can enjoy a happy and fulfilling life. Loss really can be a catalyst for growth however I don’t usually share that with a newly bereaved individual. The by-product of growth is often something that becomes self-evident to people over time.

The trajectory of my life has changed rather significantly since Helping Parents Heal was formed. It has added a rich dimension to my life, where I feel I’m truly involved with something that will help many people.”

Kathryn Williams 2012


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Kathryn Williams Raths

I have always had creative threads of inspirations in my life. I can fall into an oil pastel drawing like the average person falls into a good book. It is a grounding process, allowing me to lose myself in my work, lose track of time and escape the pressures of everyday life. Unfortunately, I have not spent much of my life devoting time to my heart's desire; writing and exploring my creative impulses. I'm a single mom first and I've been a full-time employee in the business world for over the past 20 years. I’ve earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science. I live in the cornfields of Ypsilanti with my 2 sons, who are thirteen and fourteen, and my boyfriend, a wonderful man whom inspires and supports my dreams. During 2008, I had some life-altering experiences which have given me a new perspective and enabled me to reprioritize my responsibilities. I lost my father and my job, both of which I devoted much love and energy to and truly treasured. In the aftermath of my father's death, I reached deep within my core and wrote my book, What Can I Say When Words Escape Me, being present during times of sorrow. I can only hope these words of encouragement and nature photos touch your heart and up lift and hug your soul as they have for me. I currently write for the, Detroit market as a Healthy Living Reporter, I'm grateful for my life's journey thus far and thankful for a nurturing, fulfilling future that enables me to reach out and help others struggling with hardship.

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