Donna Berger lived a balanced life of faith, family, and friends, and was a practicing nurse anesthetist until one hot summer day in August of 1989 when her life was torn apart. That day an impaired driver crashed into her family’s parked car killing her husband, Gerry, and their three children, Dawn (8), Stephen (6) and Michael (3). Donna, the sole survivor, was left fighting for her life in a burn intensive care unit.
Clinging to life and to Romans 8:28, ‘And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them’, Donna chose to not count her faith amongst her many losses and she reached out to the only One who could truly heal her. Christ’s faithful presence in her life carried her through tragedy and provided her with the blueprint for living through loss.
Just days after that accident, while Donna’s fate was still uncertain, her husband Gerry’s best friend, John Berger, came to her bedside. He was moved powerfully by the Lord during that encounter, and while he was not completely sure she could hear or understand him, he whispered in her ear the promise that if she lived, he would take care of her.
Today, Donna is a passionate witness to the presence of Jesus in her life and speaks about living a full life after loss. She is the author of Living Through Loss – A Memoir of Recovering Joy After Cumulative Grief, and she blogs regularly on this website. Donna also has the privilege of leading a Bible Study Group of Sisters In Faith. Her Bible studies are on YouTube at @donnamarieberger.
Donna lives with her husband, John, in Florida where they enjoy their morning coffee, long walks, welcoming family and friends who come to visit, and witnessing to the faithfulness of God in their lives. When possible, she and John also look forward to traveling to see their daughters, Meredith and her fiancé, Eli, who live in the Washington, D.C. area, Laura who lives in California, and their son, Christian, who lives in New York City.
Will Searcy found himself uniquely qualified to co-author Donna Berger’s Living Through Loss. Facing opposing life-altering realities – the hopelessness of his mother’s stage IV cancer diagnosis and the hope of welcoming his first child into the world – Will approached this project with a hard-earned and real perspective on grief, God, and the meaning of life. His days were spent editing the manuscript with his son strapped around his chest in a Baby Bjorn while periodically tending to his mother, who fought bouts of fear, anxiety, and crippling pain as she slowly succumbed to the cancer that would take her life. At times it’s difficult to find the “good” that God “works” when losing one’s mother to cancer, but the raw emotion infused in the pages of this memoir, like tender arms outstretched, is one such example.
Will Searcy is a writer and producer, who has written and/or produced over forty documentary films about individual injured victims’ catastrophic loss. As an author, Will contributes to Donna’s Christian blog while continuing to author faith-based works of his own. When not writing, Will teaches religion to middle school students as well as works in ministry in his church.
Meredith Berger is a blog contributor and the daughter of the author, Donna Berger. Meredith has experience as an opinion columnist for two student-body newspapers and has been published on various online platforms. A follower of Christ and a lover of words, she is thrilled to be a part of the Living Through Loss team, further developing both her faith and her writing.
Meredith is a graduate from the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce (MS ’17), and works in marketing in Washington D.C.