The Current

Following death of his 2-year-old daughter, this author had to find 'a way to live in the world again'

Jayson Greene and his wife Stacy lived through the unimaginable when their two-year-old daughter Greta died unexpectedly. Greene wrote a memoir to chronicle his journey from profound grief to healing; he shares that story with us.

Freak accident claimed life of Jayson Greene's daughter Greta

Jayson Greene with his daughter Greta. She died in 2015. (Michael Maren/Penguin Random House)

Read Story Transcript

After the death of his two-year-old daughter in a freak accident, author Jayson Greene fell into a spiral of depression and self-pity.

But he soon realized that voice of sadness wasn't helping him heal.

"Self-pity helped me feel more alone and feeling more alone was exactly what I did not need," he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

"What I wanted was to find a way to live in the world again."

In 2015, two-year-old Greta was sitting on a sidewalk bench with her grandmother in her hometown of New York City. A loose brick fell from an eighth-storey windowsill and struck her in the head.

She was rushed to hospital and underwent emergency surgery, but doctors eventually told her devastated parents the injuries were fatal.

"That was something that was very rupturing for me, was this idea that something could literally fall from the sky and kill you, kill your daughter. Bad things could fall out of the sky."

Greene has written about grieving for his two-year old daughter, Greta, in his book Once More We Saw Stars. (Penguin Random House)

Now, he has written a book, Once More We Saw Stars, about the grief his family felt, and how he worked to find meaning and hope in life again.

Greene details how he and his wife, Stacey, leaned on each other and kept friends close. They attended support groups for bereaved parents, and went away to a grief retreat in New Mexico.

They didn't find the retreat from a list of resources, he said, but from a graphic novel, Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir, written by another father who had lost a child.

Greene explained he and his wife were "casting around in the dark" when they discovered the graphic novel.

He thinks that speaks to "this larger feeling that everyone has: Who's ever done this before? How can you ever make sense of such a thing? Where are all the others?"

"I think it was that impulse that led me to write this book — I wanted to shine some light," he told Tremonti.

"I don't use those terms to imply that I have this blinding light of insight I can shine, but I have my story," he continued.

"I think that the more stories you have testifying to this experience, the more chance there is that someone going through it will not feel as alone in the moment."

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Alison Masemann.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?