In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning

ABOUT Dana Goodman

Dana Goodman
Speaker, author and grief counsellor Dana Goodman lives in Kamloops British Columbia. Dana has a passion for helping people navigate through their grief journeys. Her memoir, In the Cleft Joy Comes in the Mourning, written four years after the deaths of her husband, son and mother-in-law  More...


Prepare to have your heart broken when you read In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning. In return you will discover how people endure the worst of tragedies. With devastating honesty, Dana Goodman writes about the loss of her 30-year-old husband, her young son, and her mother-in-law to cancer. If that is not enough, she must also try to support her second husband through his cancer battle at the same time her son is diagnosed with a deadly brain tumour. She answers nightmarish questions that parents sometimes torture themselves with, such as how would a mother or father tell a beloved child that he is dying and there is nothing to be done to save him. Dana outlines with incredible insight her most desperate moments; her irrational, frantic efforts to ward off cancer; and her anger with the God she so deeply loves. She describes how her husband and son dealt with their terminal illnesses and how her younger son, other family members, and friends coped with events that seemed too terrible to be real. Yet, she also writes of hope, gratitude, and forgiveness. In the most beautiful but simple prose, she reveals how people are able to draw upon deep inner strength even in the darkest hours. Intertwined with the pain and sadness, there are tales of adventure and physical endurance, and humour. This uniquely personal book will help grieving people understand they are not alone. It will offer awareness to others who simply wonder why things happen and how those who are struck down by life's tragedies are able to emerge again into the light. In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning offers refuge to the saddest hearts and hope for all of us who fear we would not be able to go on. -Susan Duncan

In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning was birthed after a long season of grieving. After the deaths of her husband and son to cancer, Dana found herself in the wilderness, unable to navigate through the darkness. Even breathing was hard. Her pain forever changed her, scarred her and contaminated the way she viewed life; however Jesus met her in the middle of the dark valley and lead her through the heartache so she could see in colour again. In him she was able to find renewal, meaning and purpose once more. Dana's journey compelled her to write In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning in the hopes that her story might help others find their way through their own pain stories.



“In The Cleft: Joy Comes In The Mourning” By Dana Goodman


“Every day my heart grieves, and every day I find joy.”


This is such a heartbreaking story of losing not one, but three, family members is a very short period of time. What a soul can go through during this lifetime is unfathomable to many. Author Dana Goodman opens her heart and pours emotion into this gut-wrenching narrative in a tender, but loving way. Her approach teaches many of us unknowingly blessed souls what a mother/wife/daughter/sister can go through.

“Grief can be a very self-focused journey, but my heart began to burn for the greater purposes of love God had for me. I wanted to use my pain to heal others.” This line reminds the reader just how brave and strong Dana is. Not many people get to this point in their lives.


As hard as it is to watch another soul go through overwhelming pain and agony, this story gives us the confidence and reassurance that we can get through the darkness with compassion and gratitude.


“You and I have only a short time here on this earth. We are blessed beyond what we deserve, but we are also required to endure much heartache. In the broken moments of our lives, seeds are planted in the very rich soil of God’s kindness and when those seeds are showered with his love they bear much fruit and multiply. Just when I thought nothing could grow in the barren waste of broken dreams, seeds began to grow into beautiful plants of love and hope.” Archangels could not have said it better.


Family photos throughout the book make the love and bonding more real. Their beautiful smiles captivate the reader.


After living the pain and torture the author goes through (as readers usually do), the reader is left wishing to cocoon the author and her family members from further hurt. Hopefully, there is a follow up/update in the works as the reader is left with a loving concerned feeling for the author and family members.



--Tofts Reviews



Dana, you are a wonderful and beautiful Earth Angel and I am so very glad you here with us. It was such an amazing honour to read and be inspired by your story. I have never cried through a review before. You reminded me what life is all about. Thank you. Namaste. Lisa. 


Reviewer: Lisa MacLean Tofts, Tofts Reviews, Calgary, AB


Be Inspired - Quotes from  “In The Cleft: Joy Comes In The Mourning”**


“I sensed Jesus wiping our tears. He looked into our aching hearts and wept along with us.”


“For a long time after Jay’s death, life ebbed and flowed, full colour one moment and then dark night the next. I called it the grief dance.”


“Anger tricked me into thinking I could fight cancer with adrenalin.”


“… delving into our feelings would be like setting a match to gasoline.”


“Cancer could not destroy the parts of my children’s personalities that had been unique to them since they were born.”


“Zach and Carter’s enthusiasm reminded me that our family life had not been reduced to facts, prognoses and to-do lists. Their personalities buoyed the heavy cancer atmosphere and wove into my pain like balm.”


“My inward grief was terrifyingly loud, but outwardly it was silent.”


“Around each twist and turn in the road there was a false summit.”


“I wondered if I would ever be in such an intimate place with God.”


“As the months passed, God’s compassion melted away the sharp edges of my grief… the shadows became gray instead of black…”


“Suffering up close looks like a bleeding mess of broken dreams.”

I received your book a day ago----read the missive in a single sitting--was charmed and entranced, enthralled and captured by the poignant and evocative insights--- it's a burnished gold of a book---a real beauty---tragedy and hope, in an honest and raw way, jostling wisely and judiciously in your vulnerable soul--take heart---your well told and painful journey will bring healing and restore life to many---thanks for the sacrament and chalice of eternity so generously shared.
Ron Dart, Professor of Philosophy and Politics at the University of the Fraser Valley
"The author is a talented writer, who creates beautiful, sweeping images that carry the reader smoothly through what is, in truth, a bumpy journey.  The author describes her fear, sadness and anger with pinpoint accuracy, but stops to thrill readers with pictures, conversations and scenes that rejoice in the beauty of everyday life."
 Xulon Press

Readers will be blessed with Dana's vulnerability.  For those in the valley, In the Cleft:  Joy Comes in the Mourning, will bring restored hope.  Her writing will inspire you to dream again.  This book is an awakening to Christ's incredible grace and a credit to the author's faith.  Once you pick up this book, you will find it very difficult to put down. 
Pastor Andrew Piklyk of Bible Truth Church

This book deserves more than 5 stars as it is deeply embedded in the mystery of God's love. The author needs to be congratulated on her courage to write this painful book as her journey in revealing her heart and pain has been relived in every letter that she has typed.

It would have been human to have given up after all Dana Goodman has been through, but her strength is clearly grounded in the God of Love. Her struggles just seemed to bombard her, her heart being ripped apart through loss. But her amazing gift to keep going is echoed in this statement:

"In the broken moments of our lives, seeds are planted in the very rich soil of God's kindness and when those seeds are showered with his love they bear much fruit and multiply. Just when I thought nothing could grow in the barren waste of broken dreams, seeds began to grow into beautiful plants of love and hope."

However, this hope did not just come to the author, she had to endure many years of excruciating pain and suffering. She truly understands the agony of Calvary but above all has witnessed the Resurrection that comes after death. Her faith is proof of this. A lot people would trash God and leave Him, bitter and tormented by the challenges given to them. But Dana Goodman held on with her fingernails to hope. The support of her family and Christian friends too gave her the glimpse that not all was lost. Greatness and healing could come out of the ashes.

This book is truly inspirational and a must read for those that have suffered loss, especially the loss of a child. I confess I cried often, but tears are the ointment of God's healing balm.

I highly recommend this amazing account of an exceptional woman's journey to hell and back. Dana Goodman stayed focused on God, at times tentatively, understandably so, but none the less, still communicating with Love even though He seemed at times silent and distant.

Be warned this book will change you.

Author Margaret Kazmierczak