The first six years of my life were spent in the tiny village of Dehlingen in the Westerwald region of West Germany. In November 1964, my mother and father, two older brothers, younger sister and I boarded a flight to a new life in Canada. It had taken only three months to get our immigration papers in order.
We settled in Perth County, Ontario. For the next thirteen years I learned the value of hard work on our dairy farm, and it was here that my love of reading and writing took shape. It was also here, at the age of eleven, where I gave my heart and life to Jesus one night as I looked out my bedroom window at the starry host above.
I often dreamed of writing a book and having it published. Life, however, had to bestow some painful experiences and lessons for that dream to finally take place.
I met my future husband, Ted, while attending high school, and after my college graduation we made our way to northern Alberta. Here, we raised three beautiful daughters on an acreage not far from the mighty Peace River. While Ted worked as a maintenance carpenter for the local school division, I relished being a stay-at-home mom, but I also loved being involved in the church and community. Eventually I landed a job as a care aide at the local nursing home. For many years, my husband and I held positions of leadership within the church. During these years I had the opportunity to write devotionals, sermons, and newspaper articles.
We were married twenty-three years when my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We were catapulted into the refiner’s fire, and our faith was tested and tried. God’s faithfulness, provision, and hope sustained us. The following years brought much joy and sorrow. The challenges of raising teens, planning weddings, celebrating the birth of a grandchild, mourning the death of a son-in-law, and enduring job changes kept our lives on a perpetual rollercoaster.
Nine years after the first diagnosis, the cancer returned and the battle was lost on July 21, 2013. I was left alone in my house with memories and a long and difficult trek ahead. It was through this grief journey, and many other hard-earned life lessons, that the Lord finally gave me the push I needed to write my book.
Q: What compelled you to begin writing your book?
A: I was about three years into my grief journey when the idea of writing a book began to take root. I felt that I had something of value to share with others. I had made difficult choices, received revelations that the Lord graciously supplied, and overcame struggles that propelled me towards healing and hope. I doubted my competence, though, and it was only through a well-timed word from the Lord, through a friend, that I was convinced I needed to do this.
Q: Who is your intended audience?
A: I understand that everyone’s grief journey is unique. My book addresses the loss of a spouse. However, there are common elements that come with grief in general. I touch on them. I also feel that it would be a helpful book for anyone who wants to understand and support those who have experienced loss.
Q: What would you like to see accomplished through your book?
A: I want those who mourn to know that it is possible to enjoy new life, hope, purpose, and joy. I share my experiences shortly before and after the death of my husband. I deliberately wrote the book with short chapters so as not to overwhelm. I include both practical and spiritual insights that I pray will encourage and inspire others to grieve well.
Q: What would you say was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?
A: There were areas in my life that I struggled to write about—mistakes, character flaws, addictions, and regrets. Yet I knew that if I wanted to impact lives, I needed to be vulnerable, transparent, and authentic.
Q: Why did you name the book Relentless?
A: I work at a public library as a clerk and children’s programmer. One day as I was walking down the stacks, I asked the Lord for a title for my book. Within seconds, the word ‘relentless’ came to mind. The day Ted left, I made a decision to grieve well, and I knew I had to commit to be relentless in this quest because grief, by its very nature, is relentless. Grief is hard work, but necessary if new life and growth is to take place.
Q: What are your future plans regarding this book?
A: Nothing brings me more joy than to deliver hope and encouragement to those in need, and to see lives transformed. I’ve decided, at the Lord’s prompting, to give one hundred percent of the proceeds of my book to charities that advance the Kingdom of God¬¬—to feed the hungry, provide shelter for those who are in need of a home, bring freedom to those who are addicted, rescue those who have been sexually exploited, and bring support to those persecuted for their faith. There is no end to need in our hurting world.
Q: What other interests do you enjoy?
A: I enjoy spending time with family and friends over a cup of tea. Hanging out with my granddaughter Danica is especially delightful. I love scrapbooking, singing in the choir, public speaking, finding a good deal at the Goodwill, and working out at my daughter’s fitness centre.
Q: What words of advice would you give to new writers?
A: Don’t let fear and insecurity stop you. Push through. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and act as a sounding board. Spend time in prayer asking for direction and inspiration. Be prepared to do the hard work, but also enjoy the process along the way.
To purchase Heike Ingram’s book click here
Heike Ingram is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest desire is to make a difference in the lives of others through compassion, encouragement, and generosity. She resides in the beautiful Peace Country of northern Alberta. You can contact Heike at firstname.lastname@example.org.