How do you recover from the loss of a child? That never-ending journey is chronicled in a new book by SMSU professor of education Tanya McCoss-Yerigan.
McCoss-Yerigan and her husband, Tim, lost their son Clint in a deer hunting firearms accident in 2006. Her book is entitled "No Ordinary Son: A Journey Through Death and Living Again."
"You lose everything, and you lose everyone - the way you knew them," said McCoss-Yerigan. "When we found him in the yard, everything faded to black. I was different - that person was gone."
She resisted the urge to "turn to bad things - drinking, or sleeping too much. I forced myself to get out of bed each morning and be a good example for the other (four) children," she said.
At the time of the accident, "everything was perfect in my life. I had gotten my doctorate, had wonderful children, a great husband, a good career,"?she said.
McCoss-Yerigan knew right away she'd write about the accident.
"I keep a journal, and although I don't like to write, I knew I would - I knew I had to,"?she said.
The accident affected her in many ways, both emotionally and physically.
"I had trauma-induced brain damage," she said. "You don't need to have a physical injury to have damage to the brain. I had to re-learn how to do a lot of things," she said.
McCoss-Yerigan has spoken to many Bible groups, book clubs and to other groups and welcomes those opportunities.
"Anything I can do to help others," she said. She can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
She said the book is "necessarily raw" and had the most trouble writing chapter three - the accident.
"It was so difficult reliving that, minute-by-minute," said McCoss-Yerigan.
The most difficult thing was how the accident affected her children, she said.
"They lost their brother, they lost their happiness. One became bitter, one became a recluse, one turned to prescription drugs. The changes were endless. It seemed as if we had lost each other. Being a mother is the most important thing I do, and keeping the family together was difficult. One by one, we became whole again," she said.
Proceeds of the book, up to $25,000, will go toward the Clint McCoss Kindness Scholarship, being administered through the Hazel Run Lutheran Church. The first printing of the book has sold out. It is available at Korthuis Jewelry in Granite Falls and Montevideo; and Thrifty White, From the Ground Up and Hair Expressions by Kari, all in Granite Falls. It's available online at: www.iypublication.com.
McCoss-Yerigan earned undergraduate and master's degrees from SMSU, and it's her hope that the book will help others who have lost a child.
"The accident was terrible, but I wanted something good to come from the tragedy," she said.