By Patrick McLeod and Tammy McLeod
Tyndale House 2019
268 pages Spiritual Memoir
We have all experienced great loss in our lives at one time or another, whether through death, divorce, Covid, and on and on. In their book, Hit Hard, Pat and Tammy McLeod explore the type of loss called “ambiguous loss”, a type of loss where there doesn’t seem to be a finality, and the grief is ongoing with no closure and no ultimate validation. Wikipedia defines ambiguous loss as “a loss that occurs without closure or clear understanding. This kind of loss leaves a person searching for answers, and thus complicates and delays the process of grieving, and often results in unresolved grief.” It is a concept developed by Dr. Pauline Boss and seems extremely appropriate as we are currently engulfed in the pandemic with loss ensnaring almost all of us in one form or another.
Several years ago, Zach McLeod, the McLeod’s second child, suffered a severe head injury on the football field, and since that moment his life and the life of his family has never been the same. They tell their family story in the book Hit Hard. The couple alternate in sharing their memories of that moment, the toll it took on their son and their family, and how through very hard emotional and spiritual work, they have been able to move beyond that tragic moment and deal in positive ways with the ambiguous loss it brought to them. They say that the purpose of the book is to relate to other families and individuals as they attempt to move beyond their own loss. The McLeods have just recently told their story in a video they made in February of this year, as a source of hope for families dealing with loss from Covid 19. It can be found here.
I was impressed by the huge supporting community the McLeods had around them as they dealt with this loss as well as the way in which they have channeled their loss over the years. On the other hand, I think that they acknowledge that you can feel very alone, even when you are in a huge community. Both Pat and Tammy are pastors involved in student ministry in the Boston area; both have advanced degrees in ministry. They also are involved in mission in South Africa.
Hit Hard is extremely well written—thoughtful and insightful as well as devastating in the content. The intended audience, I believe, is anyone who is experiencing ambiguous loss, although it would be appropriate for everyone grieving loss. It is also very inspirational—showing that such great loss can lead to positive outcomes and great satisfaction.
Here are two more sites for those intrigued with their story: an interview with the family and the couple’s website. However, when I Googled Pat and Tammy McLeod, I was able to find many articles, TV interviews, and pictures of the family over the years.
I appreciated very much the publicist sending me the book to read, and I would recommend it as a source of encouragement and hope.