Story by Dick Hildebrand
Photography by Heike Delmore
Another gem from Melissa Lyons. The award winning author, who lives in Windsor, has just released her second book ‘Until We Meet Again’ which, like her first effort, promises to be a successful venture.
The mother of two daughters who are both “in school learning to save lives” came to Windsor 20 years ago. One of the girls is attending medical school in Ireland while the other is taking firefighting training at St. Clair College in Windsor. Melissa, whom you could describe as the ultimate entrepreneur, has had a varied career. She’s owned and sold several successful businesses and has worked in the banking and pharmaceutical industries. Several years ago, having difficulty in finding personal satisfaction, Melissa decided to take a ‘little’ time off to find her true calling.
In 2017, after a 30 month hiatus, Melissa had written her first book titled ‘I Will Always Love You’. Designed to bring peace and hope to people who have suffered the loss of a loved one, the publication has met with an overwhelming response and is still readily available. As a sought-after speaker, Melissa truly cares about people. She is passionate about helping others embrace fresh perspectives when faced with a loss, tragedy, or other day-to-day situations. To find out more about her first book, log on to www.melissa-lyons.com.
‘Until We Meet Again. From grief to hope after losing a pet’ is written in very simple English. As Melissa says, “it’s not the number of words that count, but rather their meaning and their depth. What I’ve done is taken complicated and very painful experiences of grief and loss and answered them with messages of hope and love.” The narrative actually helps readers recall certain instances of loss in their lives, while the book’s messages provide solace and comfort. She says the first book dealt specifically with the loss of humans. The idea for the second came from people who had read ‘I Will Always Love you’ and from relating their own experiences of losing pets. “It’s a different process,” says Melissa, ”unlike the human experience, we usually don’t get to have a funeral with an animal, so there’s no closure for their humans and the pain remains without any support. I myself grew up on a farm and probably lost more animals than most people have ever owned.” Today the Lyons have two dogs and a cat.
Even though Melissa’s latest book has been on shelves for a very short time, it’s already evoking positive responses. An American veterinarian, Judy Morgan, who was named the pet industry’s ‘Woman of the Year for 2018’ loved the book so much that she purchased the first 60 copies for use in her clinics as an aid to clients whose pets were euthanized. “The book is an amazing tool to help families,” says Melissa,” particularly where kids have lost their precious four-legged friend.” It’s her dream that anyone who is losing a pet, gets a copy of the book. In fact, she’s preparing a marketing plan and will be hiring people to contact veterinary services to help in book distribution. She’ll also be selling the books herself during various retreats and readings that she attends.
From the first page to the 36th, ‘Until We Meet Again’ is chock full of heartfelt narrative and excellent illustrations. For example: “Wet kisses and snuggles, my nose on your face, we’ve shared many moments we’ll always embrace.” Anyone who has lost a pet, be it a dog, a cat, or a horse…or anything in between…will identify with the sentiment. There are positive messages of hope; “Look for rainbows and butterflies and clues that I’ll send. They will be your reminders that our bond will not end.” The author adds that rhyming verses will leave a more lasting, deeper impression on the reader.
The illustrations, done in water colors, are the work of Canadian illustrator Patricia Henderson, whose exceptional art can be seen on windows and interiors of many major North American companies. She’s also been featured in Style and Chatelaine magazine and has collaborated with brands like Dior, Revlon, Swarovski and Burberry. Numerous private collectors own some of her work. Henderson, who lives in the Beaches area of Toronto, was chosen by Melissa who was hoping to find a local artist. Through family and friends and a series of welcome coincidences, the pair was connected. During the project, the two exchanged many phone calls and messages, but did not meet until the pictures were completely finished. The drawings featuring kids of various ethnicities, are done in a positive manner. You’ll notice lots of water, blue sky and various creatures. The children are all involved in various activities…accentuating Melissa’s philosophy of Hope, Love and Gratitude.
‘Until We Meet Again’ sells for $24.99 and can be bought at Chapters, Indigo and various gift shops throughout Essex-Windsor. And it’s available online at Amazon.
Today, Melissa is working on her third book, ‘The Power of Pressing Pause’. She’s also planning a series of retreats that’ll be centered around the teachings in the book. And, as her first two books, there will again be common sense approaches to putting one’s life in order during crisis situations. As part of her busy schedule, Melissa spends a lot of time away from home attending book readings and school visitations helping students create their own stories through her evolving program called “Create a Creator.”
‘Until We Meet Again’ is basically a children’s book, but that shouldn’t stop adults from picking it up and giving it a read. The thought-provoking messages and the beautiful pictures, written from the animal’s perspective, will certainly help to make anyone’s day.
“Allow your mind time to unwind and be free. Be as kind to yourself as you were to me.”