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Guided Through Grief

amazon-best-seller-circle-may23When Michelle Cowan’s husband dies in a sudden crash, she is forced to figure out how to move forward with a grieving teenage daughter. This would require them to walk a path that was a foreign passageway to most and welcomed by none. Both would come to experience the brutality of a political system and an industry that levels immeasurable destruction and heartache. At the same time, they would encounter unexpected kindnesses, support, and the sheer goodness of others.

Michelle takes the reader on a journey of love and loss, power and influence, courage and honor, and, finally, deep brokenness bringing the chance for a new normal, a time of restoration and living with permission granted. The loss of Joe was incalculable to Michelle, AJ, and all who loved him. Michelle found that loss met time and again by Joe’s love, a love that was forever near her and palpable from across the sacred veil.

Available in Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook on Amazon

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Praise for the Book

“Michelle Cowan has written a compelling account of one of life’s greatest tragedies: losing her husband to a drunk driver. Her story of surviving the loss and grief is inspiring, as she and her daughter moved forward together to find answers, let their voices be heard, and experience the healing power of love.”

—Debra Landwehr Engle, author of The Only Little Prayer You Need, and Managing Director,

“With the clear tone of someone who knows, Michelle Cowan captures the devastation that has reshaped countless lives, including mine. My 4-year-old daughter, Lori, and 19-month-old nephew, Mitch, died when an alcohol-impaired young driver hit our car leaving me burned over 73 percent of my body. My husband, Roy, was burned over 45 percent of his body and the daughter I was seven months’ pregnant with was born premature and legally blind from oxygen deprivation.
I’m grateful for her words, and like Michelle, I wasn’t sure how life would go on. Years would be required before my scars became a beacon of hope for others. Michelle’s words signal that same untidy hope drawing the hurting to a place of love.”

—Millie Webb, MADD National President 2000-2002

“Better, Not Bitter is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit. Michelle’s courage and heart are on full display throughout this remarkable true story. Despite the loss her family endured, they are living proof that unbreakable faith can arise from unthinkable tragedy. Michelle and AJ’s pursuit of policy change and justice is nothing short of heroic. This book is about family, faith, and finding the will to carry on. It proves that we’re still able to communicate with those we’ve lost, if only we’re brave enough to look for signs and synchronicity. Let this book remind us all that Heaven and Earth are closer than we realize.”

—Andy Myers, Psychic Medium & #1 best-selling author of The Sky Diaries: A True Story of Reincarnation

“Michelle Cowan suffered a devastating blow with the loss of her husband due to a collision with a drunk driver. When a tragedy such as this occurs, there is always the inclination to be consumed by anger and grief. Michelle chose to initiate steps to change dram laws in Nebraska which will be very important in reducing the number of tragic accidents caused by alcohol. We can’t avoid adversity; it is part of the human condition. We can, however, choose our response to adversity and Michelle has chosen to make the world a better place as a result of her tragic experience.”

—Tom Osborne, past football coach of the Nebraska Huskers and a United States congressman from Nebraska’s 3rd district

“Michelle’s story is a testament to perseverance in the face of obstacles. Her journey reveals how love can grow in new directions without diminishing the past.”

—Brian Maass, Widower

“Michelle takes us on a beautiful journey that exhibits love, heartache, and hope. Our paths crossed because of our shared experiences with spousal loss at the hands of drunk drivers but through the years of friendship, we have discovered many commonalities which link us together. We bonded as women of faith, as registered nurses, as mothers, as young widows, and this resulted in a precious friendship. These shared life experiences have helped strengthen my widowhood journey and have helped me to feel capable and loved. I believe Michelle was meant to be a support to me through my grief and healing as we grieved together. Her life story is poignant, descriptive, and heartfelt. She leads readers through the phases of her life carefully and thoughtfully as she honors these phases with respectful contemplation. This elicits feelings of compassion for Michelle and recognition of her remarkable spirit. Her memoir will bless the lives of those who read her words. I know Joe is cheering her on and pleased with her courage and tenacity.”

—Melissa Smith, Widow

“The sudden death of a beloved is hands down one of life’s most traumatic events. You’re forced to redefine yourself on your own, find the motivation and will to keep going, and buffer your grief in a cheerful facade for those now dependent solely on you.

But when the cause of that death turns out to be someone else’s negligence, the healing process is more complex, and the anger can threaten to swallow you whole. This was where Michelle Cowan found herself, as horrifying details about the car accident that claimed her husband, Joe, began to emerge. First, the facts had to be laboriously unearthed, then concentric circles of responsibility reckoned with. The more she learned, the more Cowan resolved to push for policy changes to spare others the same fate. The simplicity and candor of her narrative cast the self-serving motivations of policy-makers resistant to change in an even more cynical light.

In seeking to make meaning of everything, the author sought comfort in what some might consider unlikely places and found it in what may seem to be unlikely coincidences, culminating in a paradigm-shifting twist at an Iowa writers’ retreat. It’s an emotionally compelling read.”

—Rekha Basu, former opinion columnist Des Moines Register

Meet Michelle

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In 2009, Michelle Cowan, a wife and mother, was living a life she always dreamed of—with her husband Joe and daughter AJ. Michelle worked as a nurse case manager and Joe as an accountant for the State of Nebraska. Life was at a good point. Her life would change in an instant.

Joe was killed by a drunk driver on a Nebraska highway on his way home from buying a safer vehicle for Michelle’s commute. Michelle, barely surviving her new role of widow and parent of a grieving teen, would have to dig deep in her soul to navigate the sometimes ugly path into law enforcement issues, politics, lobbyist, grief, anger, despair, spirit world, and finally healing. But even during the darkest moments of her journey, she learned that with every dark thing that happens, there are silver linings—if you look closely. Through her healing, she learned that widowed people have a human connection that is like none other. She learned that love is stronger than death, that our loved ones can and do communicate from across the sacred veil, and that the heart, which is fragile is also capable of extraordinary things, including healing to find love again. Better, Not Bitter is not just the title of her book, it is the mantra by which she and her daughter moved forward in life after a tragic loss.

Contact Michelle

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