The Birthday Card: Snapshots of a Man’s Grief

B.L. Park


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It is a sickening feeling to experience the death of someone who is precious to you. To be hit full in the face with the reality that a person whose life is intricately interwoven in yours has been forcibly removed from it and you will never, never see them on this planet again. You will not be able to talk to them, or hug them. All you will ever have for the rest of your life will be memories, which no matter how hard you try to hold onto them, will fade. Photographs, birthday cards, videos and journal entries will all become two-dimensional and lose their authenticity, because the person they represent is no longer accessible. No matter what you do, you can no longer interact with the image, for the connection with the real person is severed, and there is no making it better, no turning back the clock. And when all of this gut-wrenching, cold, reality is jam-packed into one single moment … a blink of the eye, no wonder your fuse can blow, and you break and crumple like a dried-up piece of pottery.

The author of The Birthday Card, like Job, asks, ‘Where is God in our darkest moments?’

Bruce L. Park has worked as a secondary school teacher at Maranatha Christian School for the last 30 years. He has taught a number of subjects, including Science, Woodwork and Mathematics.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Monash University and a Diploma of Teaching from Rusden College.

Reviews & Commendations

Naomi Reed:

Life writing reminds us, more than anything, that our stories are shared – that the tears we cry and the questions we raise at 3 in the morning, are not just ours, they are somehow everybody’s. The Birthday Card is a poignant example of this – Bruce writes in an honest, insightful manner about the loss of his son, but for the reader, it’s much more than that. In reading his story, we are able to connect with his journey, but we also learn and consider our own losses at the same time, almost imperceptibly. This is a gift, for all of us.

Naomi Reed is an Award-winning Australian author. Naomi’s latest book Heading Home is out now.


Dr Archibald Hart:

The Birthday Card is a moving and deeply insightful look at grief. We will all, sooner or later, experience a moment in life when we are forced to ask: ‘Where is God in this?’  Painful as it must have been for Bruce Park to write of his experience, it will be a real comfort to those readers who have had a similar experience – or who may at some time in the future go through such pain. As Bruce discovered, the answer to the question ‘Where is God?’ when we experience a major tragedy, is always ‘He is with us!” May Bruce’s experience be a source of comfort to all who read The Birthday Card.

Archibald D. Hart, Ph.D., FPPR, is Senior Professor of Psychology and Dean Emeritus of the Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California

Dr Lindsay McMillan:

Sometimes, in life we may be confronted with  enormous grief. The challenge is how we deal with such occasions. This is a deeply moving story of a father’s heart, dealing with the loss  of his beloved son in a  workplace accident. Through it all it is a story of hope, faith and the expression of a father’s deep and abiding love that transcended the enormity of such a terrible event. It is compelling reading that will move you.

Dr Lindsay McMillan OAM is Managing Director of Converge International

A Grief Observed, CS Lewis’ unflinching account of grappling with grief in the loss of his wife, showed how deeply loss can shake the faith even of the strongest believer. Here is another grief observed; here too faith is battered but not broken. Bruce Park in The Birthday Card records with eloquence and honesty these shapshot episodes of his grief when a workplace accident killed his son Nathan.

read the rest of the review at The Bible Society Eternity News

In his introduction to The Birthday Card, Bruce expresses his desire that the book will encourage others to ‘live our lives…knowing that our God is with us always.’ I believe that Bruce achieves this because in the end we are comforted by that which comforts him—his conviction that ‘all will be well’ (T.S. Eliot), based on his gently expressed but unshakeable belief that ‘the cross is the cornerstone of our faith’.

read the rest of the review at St Jude’s News

Review by Lindy Mulherin, Carlton Mornings 9 am, in St Jude’s News

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