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Surviving tragedy, one hour at a time
Book details man's experience after losing wife and sons in freak accident.

 In their book on grief, Art and Allison Daily say healing happens "an hour at a time."
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Date published: 11/29/2009

BY JANET MARSHALL

I never forgot what happened to Art Daily's family:

He and his wife and two sons were on their way home from a youth hockey game in Vail, Colo., driving through the scenic Glenwood Canyon toward Aspen, when a 1-ton boulder broke loose from the canyon wall.

The giant rock slammed into the passenger side of their Chevy Suburban, then rolled over the top of the vehicle, killing Daily's wife and two boys. Daily walked away without a scratch.

I was a reporter for the Aspen Daily News at the time and always wondered how Daily, an Aspen resident, went on. I remember being told he was surrounded by loved ones and was despondent. His house must've felt so empty.

Not long ago, thinking about how people grieve and knowing writer Edie Gross was working on a story about grief for Healthy Living, I Googled to see if anything might turn up about the man who lost his family in an instant in the mid-1990s.

Surprisingly, to me, what popped up were newspaper stories about a book published earlier this year. It was written by Daily and his second wife, Allison, who came into his life as he was raw with grief, and who helped him find meaning and joy again.

I won't tell you the whole story--it's complicated, with elements of the mystical. (Angels, chanting and spiritual retreats have played a role in Daily's grief journey, as have nature, exercise and counseling.)

I will tell you that Daily, broken, battered and despairing after the accident, now has a rich life--and two more sons.

He hasn't buried his grief, but the book lets you know that he has managed, in the face of unfathomable loss, to once again find love and count his blessings.

For those faced with loss that seems too hard to bear, Daily's story can provide comfort and hope. It's a testament to the strength of the human spirit, and to the importance of community and companionship.

Though the book is written in narrative form, it includes a section called Upon Reflection filled with insights directed at people experiencing grief. The first tip: Grief has no rules. The second: Support from others helps.


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