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Personal reflections help readers through grief and loss

Marian Eisenmann, a former pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Red Wing, writes a note of encouragement as she signs a copy of her book, “Grace For Today, Hope For Tomorrow.” She also continues to speak — although not necessarily from the pulpit — in hopes of inspiring people and telling stories. (photo by Kit Murray)

Marian Eisenmann, 71-year-old retired St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Red Wing pastor, published her first book this summer, "Grace For Today, Hope For Tomorrow." The spiritual memoir explores grace and hope in regards to Eisenmann's experiences with death and dying.

Eisenmann has been a nurse, pastor and chaplain, but now calls herself a storyteller, author and inspirational speaker. Her interest in exploring the emotions tied to death started when she lost her mother at 17. This then led her to her career path.

"I went into nursing as a way to be there for people who were suffering. I was able to support a lot of families and individuals," Eisenmann said. "I felt drawn to something more. When I went into ministry I felt ministering to people at their time of grief and loss was one of the most meaningful parts of my ministry."

With a love for creative writing and having taken classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, this memoir is Eisenmann's first story. Her story includes some of her pieces of poetry, but she discusses how her love of literature has inspired her.

"I try to bring my own personal experience, but yet move beyond that. It's kind of storytelling, personal reflections and helpful hints."

When asked what her target audience is, Eisenmann thought it would be hard to narrow down, considering everyone has experienced or will experience loss in their life. Eisenmann thinks people who work in health care or hospice, care givers and ministry will be drawn to this story. She really strives for people who are struggling with grief to give it a read.

This short memoir is written to leave the reader with a feeling of hope. The main focus is to encourage the audience that there is no one way to grieve.

"There are no set rules, there's no set time. It's an individual thing. It takes time to work through one's grief, but if you don't work through it, you get stuck in it," Eisenmann said. "I hope that this little book will provide a way people can work through their grief and assist others in their grief. Maybe support a friend and a family member and also realize there's hope."

An interesting analogy Eisenmann wants her audience to understand is that experiencing grief can be like experiencing the seasons. Winter can be dark and dreary and often people become dormant. While with spring and summer, plants are in full bloom and we might be able to see hope.

In the future, Eisenmann said she may try to write a complementary piece focusing more primarily on hope. Meanwhile, she hopes to continue her inspirational speaking and and storytelling programs in St. Paul. After moving to the metro area, she has felt a real draw to come back to Red Wing and visit whenever she can.

Kit Murray

Kit Murray joined Red Wing Republican Eagle in Aug. 2016, covering government, transportation and public safety. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in photojournalism and philosophy. 

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