Fry book

I’ve been looking forward to sharing my take on David Fry’s book. Now that the time is here, it just may be an overwhelming undertaking. It is difficult to attempt to explain why the book “Purpose in the Darkness” by David Fry has seldom left my mind since reading it.

First, there is the title of the book: “Purpose in the Darkness, Lighten Grief and Mourning with Faith, Hope and Sharing.” Using lighten and mourning in the same sentence? What was his reason for using first names but no last names? Then there is the cover. What is that on the cover, you might wonder. It was a brilliant choice. Then there is a surprise that I won’t share here. Maybe you can find it. You will definitely know many of those he writes about even if he doesn’t use last names.

The rest of the book is as outstanding as anything I’ve ever read. OK, maybe with the exception of John Sanford and Kurt Vonnegut, but they are fiction writers and this book is definitely not fiction. Then there are the memories that are his, but, of course, my memories of many of the same people are different even if they are just as positive as his. Then there are the bible verses used in just the perfect spot that brings a whole new meaning to them for me. Take my word for it, this book is a one of a kind.

I love it that someone many of us know has written such an incredibly positive book. Most of all, though, that someone who always seems so positive, so ready to lend a hand and so innovative would choose (or be called) to write about death. But this book certainly could not be called a “grief book,” especially when it contains a good deal of humor. I would be surprised if someone isn’t glad he read it.

The book cover – is that a chair on the cover? What does that mean? And what was his reason for including no last names of the people he writes about even though so many of us know most or several of them? No question about it, this book can change our perspective whether we’ve suffered loss or want to support and help someone who has. David’s experience with more than 40 such events certainly provides him unique insight.

David, right along with the motto of his business “Advancing People and Organizations,” is advancing a new idea with the book. I asked David some questions and his answer to them was eye-opening.

“Grief is such an individual process and much of that is driven by our personalities, beliefs, and behavioral tendencies. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, we each grieve in our own ways.”

That gave some clarification, and made me feel a bit more rational about my own reaction to my daughter Tracey Smyser’s death October 30 last year. Although her death has changed my life totally, I discovered the ability to get certain things done such as the scholarship in her name. I can totally understand what he meant when he wrote about those people who have been in his journey: “I thank God for putting them in my life.”

Something David told me could just be important to many of us. He said, “I’m in the process of completing development of a workshop for churches to offer beginning this fall.” He said the workshop will be called “Finding Your Purpose in the Darkness,” and it will review some of the points in the book.

“It will allow people to explore their personalities and needs a bit more and include some of my photography and inspirational music. We’ll conduct a free-will offering and donate 25 percent of the proceeds to bereavement support and individuals needing grief resources. I’m looking forward to providing an extension of what was started with the book and interacting with those wanting more affirmation.”

The book is available at Rainbow Books & Gifts on the square, at, and on Amazon.

Thank you to David for writing this book.

Decatur County resident Pat Smith may be contacted via this publication at

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