When Dayle Spencer’s healthy grown daughter died suddenly from the flu in 2011, she “fell into an abyss.” She is now working to help others cope with loss.
Spencer, a former Birmingham, Alabama, federal prosecutor who took on cases against the Ku Klux Klan, said she had to find herself again.
During her personal journey of three years, she wrote two books — “Loving Allie, Transforming the Journey of Loss,” and “Loving Spirit, Self-help for the Journey of Loss.”
Spencer, president of Loving Spirit Inc., formed in Estes Park, Colorado, in 2015, will present a two-day grief and loss recovery workshop April 6-7. The event is free and is in conjunction with United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona’s end-of-life care partnership.
Spencer said the first book was a personal memoir. She and her husband, Will, spent three years grieving and trying to recover after their daughter, Allison Lanier Powell, died at age 28 from the flu virus that quickly attacked her heart.
“It killed her within 36 hours. She died at Boston Medical Center,” said Spencer, explaining she and Will were in Florida and could not get a flight out to be with their daughter because of tornadoes.
“My life went straight to hell and each circle was lower than the circle before it. I was gobsmacked by the unthinkable nature of her death, and I worked to pull myself out of the abyss that I had fallen into,” said Spencer.
She said the second book was an effort to share with others the tools and techniques that had helped her and her husband learn to cope with their loss.
The couple also pulled from their work as corporate consultants helping “clients manage the major changes in their lives.”
During the workshops, said Spencer, she hopes to help participants “see their loss in perspective.” She said people must be reminded how resilient they are while they look at an inventory of their lives from birth to the present.
The sessions approach loss through many lenses including philosophical, historical and psychological with an understanding of how loss impacts our unique personalities, said Spencer.