What I Wish I'd Known - Finding Your Way Through The Tunnel of Grief
Kristi Hugstad’s life wasn’t just on track, it was a dream: a loving marriage, two beautiful homes and a thriving fitness business she built with her husband Bill.
Until, one day, it all went off the rails.
“Bill Brotherton Jr. ran up a graveled embankment in Capistrano Beach, stood on the train tracks that run near the ocean and looked at the engineer of the northbound 808 Metrolink train—arms spread wide...”
Instead of settling into the life, she’d so successfully built, Kristi was left fighting for scraps of hope in a tunnel of inexplicable grief. Once a passionate health and fitness enthusiast, her ambition soon took a more spiritual trajectory – helping others escape the shackles of grief she understood so well.
What I Wish I’d Known shares Kristi’s tragic, painful, heart-rending and infinitely hopeful story of love, loss and the strength it takes to start over again. For anyone experiencing loss, Kristi’s words are a beacon of light on life’s darkest waters.
“Grief is not the bewildering territory you want to navigate alone and Kristi Hugstad is the best kind of traveling companion: candid, open – hearted, organized, and inspiring. What I Wish I'd Known is precisely the kind of field guide anyone who is in the midst of grieving- whether from an untimely, shocking death or from any kind of change in life (even the good kind) that brings a sense of loss- will find invaluable.”
--Cathleen Falsani, journalist and author of The God Factor and Sin Boldly
"Thank you Kristi for having the courage to share your journey. This genuine and candid account illustrates how we can look "perfect" on the outside and others have no idea of our interior struggles. It brings home the intense tragedy of suicide that the person does not realize the gift they are to their loved ones and their communities in spite of their brokenness. When tragedy strikes it is natural to get bogged down in the "what if....", and self-blame. Kristi gives us a tool to help us transition to the "what now" in a positive way."
Dr. Clare Green, Family Medicine
Newport Beach, California
“Grief is not the bewildering territory you want to navigate alone and Kristi Hugstad is the best kind of traveling companion: candid, open-hearted, organized, and inspiring. What I Wish I’d Known is precisely the kind of field guide anyone who is in the midst of grieving—whether from an untimely, shocking death or from any kind of change in life (even the good kind) that brings a sense of loss—will find invaluable. Kristi’s own story, told with unflinching honesty, is as compelling as it is unforgettable and the way she shares it with her audience instills the sort of trust that is crucial when you’re in a dark night of the soul searching for signs of daylight and hope.”
--Cathleen Falsani, Journalist and Author of The God Factor and Sin Boldly
“Grief is painful. And it’s personal. How does one pick their way through the path of grief to be healed and find joy again? Our instinct is to withdraw as the pain overwhelms us. Kristi Hugstad, confronted with an enormous loss, ultimately emerged from the darkness to compose a memoir that not only illuminates, but also provides a comforting guide to finding one’s way back from the depths of despair.”
--Maurice Possley, Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist and New York Times Best-Selling Author
“This book, like it’s author, is innovative, inspiring, and to the point. Kristi’s story has so many components can all relate, from being the victim, to the enabler. Her fresh ‘don’t think, just do’ approach is what makes this book unique. Love she includes examples of what she did to navigate her way through the tunnel of grief. Kudos, Kristi!”
--Russell Friedman, Executive Director of The Grief Recovery Institute
“I only wish I had “What I Wish I’d Known,” when I was walking through the fog and depression after the death of some of my close friends and family members. Hugstad knows the pain of grief all too well herself, but has used the experience and knowledge to create a truly useful handbook, if you will, for making it through the most devastating aspects of loss. Practical and uplifting, this book also deepens our understanding of why we are grieving and how to give ourselves time to mourn. I feel like pressing this into the hands of everyone I know, because sooner or later, each of us will need to know its wisdom.”
--Samantha Dunn, author of Not By Accident, Faith in Carlos Gomez, and Failing Paris
“Like many of us, I’ve lost friends and family in the last few years and reading, “What I Wish I’d Known,” I discovered new and significant ways to cope with grief. Kristi Hugstad’s advice about sleeping on a lost spouse’s side of the bed so you don’t feel as alone, making sure you have adequate electrolytes such as vitamin D and telling yourself,” I have suffered enough, and now it is time to be free,” are just a few of the hundreds of ideas she offers in her unique book about finding your path to healing. Kristi’s honesty, courage and insight offer truths that can lead all of us to dance in the light.”
--David Whiting, Metro Columnist, The Orange County Register