Lost Canyon’s title has a double meaning, referring both to a favorite place the Author visited as a child and to his son, Canyon, who died. The double meaning provides a beautiful metaphor about treasuring the past, while having to live in the present, and moving forward with life. In the book Fleming bravely chronicles his journey through grief, acknowledging that time helps heal, but also that his son will always be a presence in his life and that, what we choose to focus on matters.
One minute his family’s beautiful lives were just about perfect. Things were going so well. They were the picture perfect family who had overcome difficulty, an example to those who knew them. The storm was over, they thought, but it hadn’t even begun. In an instant, as if struck by a sudden tidal wave, they found their lives turned upside down and jettisoned into a murky mess of confusion and sorrow.
Lost Canyon is about the loss of a beloved 16-year-old son to suicide. It’s about how the author lived in the turmoil and confusion of that loss.
He says: “Some might say the art of living well is actually the art of letting go with grace. Life is loss. We lose jobs. We lose lovers. Some of us lose children. Sadly, some of us even lose ourselves. In the lonely aftermath of loss, it’s easy to lose sight of the beauty we are mourning. Like a child who’s cried for so long they eventually forget what they’re crying about, we can easily lose sight of what we are mourning. Instead, we begin to focus only on the void left behind. Like staring at the spaces between the stars, rather than the stars themselves, we see only darkness and let the lovely lumens twinkle in vain.”
We all grieve a little differently, sometimes a lot differently. Fleming shares how he and his wife took seemingly opposite paths in grieving the loss of their son Canyon. Sometimes the gap between them was so wide they couldn’t comprehend what the other one was doing or thinking. “Why is she letting her pain destroy everything?” “Why is he acting like nothing happened?” Their ways of coping made them foreigners on the other’s soil. At times, it seemed they would never be close again. Each wondered how they could live with someone so oblivious and selfish. Like ripples emanating from a stone tossed into a pond, the repercussions of Canyon’s death continued to spread and change each of their lives and many others.
Lost Canyon is raw and vulnerable and infused with so many emotions. It speaks to the soul and allows each of us an opportunity to reevaluate our priorities and recognize what is truly important in life. Anyone who has experienced loss will find hope and meaning in its pages. Lost Canyon is the authors story, but in many ways it’s everyone’s story because loss is such a universal human experience. Readers that haven’t yet experienced loss will have a better understanding of what others are going through and gain perspective for their own lives.
It’s a story of getting lost in grief and searching until we finally stumble – each of us in our own way – into what was there all along.
Your heart is bound to be touched by this story.