Bonnie Shapbell grew up in South Jersey in the 1950s. Her parents placed a high value on education and encouraged Bonnie and her older brother, Charles, to be independent and to think for themselves. After receiving a bachelor of science degree in mathematics, Bonnie became a software engineer. For her 50th birthday she earned a master of science degree in computer science.
Bonnie met Jan Shapbell when she was 30 and he was 35. They quickly became great friends and life partners. They shared common interests such as sports, travel, art, camping, and great conversation, as well as complementary strengths—Bonnie was a good breadwinner and bookkeeper and Jan was a creative cook and thrifty shopper. He had the vision of an artist, and she had the practical nature that brought his vision to reality.
Before Jan died in January 2004, Bonnie had promised him she would be OK. After his death, she actively worked to rebuild her life. She received help on the journey from family, friends, professionals, books, and even strangers.
On a hiking trip, experienced hikers helped Bonnie over rough places in the trail. It reminded her that we all have strengths and weaknesses. Everyone needs some help sometime, and we can all offer help to someone else.
Now Bonnie is the experienced “hiker.” She is standing along the trail of life between grief and a rebuilt joyful life, offering her advice—and this book—to those struggling with loss.