After experiencing grief, Shirley Reams wants to help others who are going through similar tragedies. Dr. Reams has written a book entitled When Death Knocks...Let Go, Let God.
"I didn't have this when I went through my huge grieving period. What I did was...keep notes of what worked for me," Dr. Reams said. "So, I thought for the next grieving individual, if they can pick up one small book and see some of the things that helped me, then that will make their pain a little easier... sharing with them how I'm able to overcome, and all of this was through my faith."
Her "horrific" grief came in 1998 when her son, Tory, battled bipolar disease and committed suicide. Bipolar disease is a major affective mental disorder characterized by episodes of mania and depression. Dr. Reams describes bipolar disease as "an illness, the brain goes bad just like the heart or liver can go bad."
"My perfectly happy, healthy, college-educated son, who had done so well in real estate, was diagnosed with bipolar at age 27 and dead at age 30, so I have to write about it," she said. "I wish they had another name for (suicide), because he just so loved life. He really loved life, but this thing got the best of him."
Although she is marketing her book in florists and funeral homes, Dr. Reams said her book is not just for people who are grieving over lost loved ones. It is for anyone experiencing any major tragedy in life.
"Although (death) is what the title suggests. It's for any major setback. A tragedy could be losing your job, a devastating illness, all kinds of things," she said.
The 48-page, self-published book is paperback and features a meditation or idea on each page, along with inspiring quotes from scripture. Dr. Reams said the book is designed to be a "quick read," and she "absolutely stands by the strategies used" because she has been through them.
"It is small, compact, and can easily be mailed instead of sending flowers or cards. You can send something that people can pick up time and time again and actually read and be lifted long after visitors are gone. I knew that this will work," she said.
This is the second motivational book Dr. Reams has written. She said her first book was motivational strategies for teachers. She plans to write nine more books "about living life to the fullest."
Dr. Reams lives in the Atlanta area, but was born and raised in McDuffie County. She was a teacher at Pine Street and Thomson elementary schools from 1970-1975. She is a retired school principal in Henry County. Dr. Reams said she still has family in Thomson, including her sister, Juanita Wheeler. Her book is available for $8.95 in Thomson at Pam's Beauty Salon on Dean Avenue, 706-595-3115, and Thomson Funeral System on Martin Luther King Jr. Street, 706-595-3110, or from Ms. Wheeler, 706-595-5500.