Dana Goodman is a published author, grief counselor and inspirational speaker who lives in Kamloops British Columbia.
In her free time, Dana enjoys reading spiritually nourishing books, listening to worship music, journaling, praying and blogging. She feels content in her everyday life if she has read an inspiring story, connected with her husband, son and friends and spent time in the outdoors with her dog
Dana’s inspirational debut memoir, In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning, written four years after the deaths of her husband, son and mother-in-law to cancer, recently won top novel at the Wildsound Writing Festival in January.
Dana's heart's desire is that In the Cleft will help her readers embrace their own profound losses and find hope in the midst of their pain. Renewal, meaning and purpose can be unearthed even after unthinkable tragedy.
Interview with Dana Goodman
What inspired you to write In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning
When our family was going through our "dark night of the soul" I found it to be a very lonely place. Grief in our culture is extremely misunderstood. People tend to think we are doing well when we are "getting over" our losses or "moving on" when in fact we are secretly dying inside. I wanted to put a face on grief, to take my internal journey and share it so others would feel less isolated in their pain. Through the authentic sharing of the mourning process, there is healing and beauty comes when we lean into grief instead of avoiding it.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are everything to me. When I can connect with their heart and change their lives for the better it makes my heart come alive.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
Clefts are places of refuge. Birds hide in them to get away from dangerous predators and to escape the harsh winter season. During the darkest moments of my journey, God lovingly took me to a place of safety and protected me from being taken out when the storm was at its worst. God is impenetrable in his shield-like protection and completely reliable as a stronghold in times of trouble. I need to take trips to the cleft on an ongoing basis so I can be restored. A well-worn path finds its way to the cleft, from having travelled there so many times. I rest here and have permission not figure everything out. I can just put my head on God's chest and weep.
What message do you want your readers to grab a hold of?
Mostly, I want readers to know they are not alone in their pain stories. I want them to know that it's ok to mourn for as long as they need. I want them to know that no matter how bad things get, a new day will eventually dawn and hope will rise out of the broken places.
What book are you reading now?
I usually have three or four books on the go. It's dysfunctional in a way, but it has always been that way for me. I have finished reading Zach Sobiach's story written by his mother called Fly A Little Higher. Her story was beautiful and very inspirational. Her son Zach died of osteosarcoma so I could relate to a lot of her emotions. I also just finished reading Rare Bird, a memoir by Anna Whiston-Donaldson. I have a thing for memoirs, especially ones where people overcome Insurmountable pain.
What are you current projects?
Right now I am focusing on my counselling practice. I'm also in the process of writing the companion guide to In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning which will be called In the Cleft: Pathway to Healing.
Who are your favourite authors?
I would have to say Phillip Yancey, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning and C.S. Lewis.
What books have influenced you the most?
C.S Lewis' A Grief Observed, Nicholas Wolterstorff's Lament For A Son, Ann Voskamps's 1000 Gifts, and William Paul Young's The Shack.
What was the hardest part about writing your book?
It was really hard to rummage through all the painful details of our trauma. Digging through the grief layers was unbearable at times. It was like I went into a cave to write and at times there was no light. Countless days I wanted to give up because it was so overwhelming. My husband was an amazing support and I could not have done it without him because the book took all of my emotional energy.
Will you write another book?
Yes, I am writing two books right now-- In the Cleft Pathway to Healing and a children’s book about being highly sensitive.