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For The Telegraph
The power of the written word can be healing.
At least it has been for Ruth Jackson after she lost her husband, Mark, to cancer five years ago.
"I started a blog - www.thejackson4.com - when Mark was diagnosed in January 2007," said Jackson, now a single mother of two daughters, Lauren, 15, and Lydia, 13. "I was already an avid writer before that time but blogging brought it out of me even more so. It was a place where I could be real and honest."
Jackson found a place to express herself through her blog.
"My blog became a place where I could work through conflicting emotions," she said. "It really was a lifeline for me."
As the five-year anniversary of her husband's death - May 5, 2012 - began approaching, Jackson started thinking about how to commemorate it.
"I decided I was ready for a change and for some closure," Jackson said. "I had been blogging at www.thejackson4.com for all those years but we really hadn't been the Jackson 4 in a long time. It seemed time to update my writing to who we are now and to have a fresh start."
After sifting through all the entries she had blogged over the years, she decided to put together a book from the thousands of entries.
"So I decided to go back through every entry I had made since I started and began copying and pasting the stuff that was worth remembering and what I wanted to include in the book," she said. "It was a huge, daunting task. I often didn't just post one entry per day, but multiple posts."
After editing down her blog entries to about 5 percent of her actual blog, she was able to create "Widow's Walk."
"Honestly, I think the whole making a book thing was an idea whispered to me from God," she said. "People encouraged me to write a book over the years, but I never dreamed that it would be blog excerpts. But I got started and I just knew it was the right thing to do."
Jackson describes her book as the first five years of a young widow's journey.
"It's a very open, honest, real look at grief and the ups and downs of life that grief offers you," she said. "I would describe it as a journey of faith, a solid belief that God is good and that God is enough no matter what."
The book is available at www.lulu.com, Emmanuel Free Methodist Church and from Jackson herself. For every book sold, $7 of the $20 cost will help fund an adoption or hopefully several adoptions in the Ukraine. Her church, Emmanuel Free Methodist Church, has remained focused over the last few years on taking care of orphans and widows through adoption and foster care. Adoption without Borders is a program to help put orphans into families in the Ukraine for the cost of $500.
While Jackson hopes to write more books in the future, she also enjoys traveling with her children, which she can do during the summer because she is a teacher in the Alton School District. Their travels have taken them to Europe, Alaska, a massive Out West Trip and even the Bahamas. She even went to Israel and Egypt with her mother and sister. Jackson is also an avid gardener, a book lover and continues to stay active in her church.
Jackson is working on a new blog, www.letterstoleadyouhome.com, made up of letters that she is writing to her two teenage daughters as they grow into adulthood and will soon be ready to be on their own.