Author Melanie Davis created a book containing stories so intense some have told her they cannot put the book down, while others have told her they can only read one chapter at a time.
"The Triumph Book," which was self-published by Davis, contains 20 true stories of tragedy written by those whose grief eventually evolved into triumph.
Davis, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said the book was written to show that it is possible to overcome grief and also to help and inspire.
"Before we can overcome something that's difficult, we have to believe that it's possible," Davis said.
The first of the 20 stories is Davis' own about the death of her 7-month-old daughter, Brynn.
Davis' story is told through entries extracted from her journal beginning with the day after her daughter's birth and continuing on after Brynn's death, and it shows how Davis was able to find joy in her life once again.
In addition, members of the LDS Church contributed six stories for the book, including one by Cammy Wilberger — the mother of Brooke Wilberger, who was abducted in May of 2004 just after returning home to Oregon for summer vacation following her freshman year at BYU.
The exact details of her fate were not discovered until September 2009, when the convicted killer revealed the whereabouts of Brooke's remains.
When Davis first contacted Cammy Wilberger about contributing her story to "The Triumph Book," she wasn't able to write it because the investigation in the case was still ongoing, and she did not want to compromise it.
Cammy Wilberger said it wasn't until about six years later that she was finally able to contribute her story. Even then, the story was not entirely complete when she finished writing it.
"At the time of this writing, the final service for Brooke has not been held," Cammy Wilberger wrote. "In a few weeks, her sisters and I will lovingly wrap her remains in a soft pink blanket and then place them in a small pink casket."
"What's so amazing about that story is that it is so full of love and forgiveness," Davis said.
Cammy Wilberger wrote in her account that the family's goal all along was to find Brooke, which was accomplished.
"We felt no anger, hatred or revenge toward this person who took so much from our lives," she wrote. "The hearing gave us the opportunity to look him in the eye and thank him for finding it within himself to tell where he had left Brooke."
This mother's ability to forgive and to be able to thank the convicted killer for revealing the location of her daughter's remains is almost inconceivable, but it is this amazing ability that is a key part of her story.
"I think lots of times people don't realize that, gee, they really didn't hate (him), and I think that's an important message to know that you can forgive people," Cammy Wilberger said.
She also said she has had many people tell her that they could never get through something like the experiences she went through.
"I think they could," she said. "Everyone can do hard things. It's a process."
Another chapter in the book tells the story of Nick Wells, who is also LDS.
Wells was in a terrible car accident while traveling at about 60 mph that sent him through the windshield of his car. The aftermath of the accident left him without the use of his legs.
"What might appear to be a great loss has become one of my greatest advantages," he wrote.
In the book, Wells describes how the car accident caused his life to take a huge turn but a turn for the good nonetheless.
"Any kind of tragedy, if we look at it the right way, is always meant to be a positive learning experience," he said.
Over the years, Wells said he has learned that a lot of what happens in everyday life does not really matter in the grand scheme of things.
"We worry about a lot more things than we should," he said.
Other stories in the book tell about a woman who lost all four of her children; a man whose wife died just 12 hours after their wedding; a man struggling through post-traumatic stress disorder; and others who all were able to find the strength to get through their individual tragedies.
"With all the variety of experiences that are in this book, I think it has the potential to reach out and help a lot of people," Wells said.
At the end of each story is a section called "Behind the Story" where Davis talks about how she got in contact with the contributor.
In addition to "The Triumph Book," which can be purchased online at www.thetriumphbook.com, Davis also created a bereavement program called The Triumph Program. The program helps people to write their own stories, find purpose in their experiences and inspire others. Another version of the program will soon be available that focuses on overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder.
Davis is currently working on a second book titled "The Triumph Book: HEROES," containing stories from veterans spanning from World War II through the present day. The book is scheduled to be released this summer.
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