Author Learns the True Meaning of Immanuel, God With Us, By Walking Through the Valley of Death

Author Lisa Espinoza has unveiled her new poignant, yet life-affirming memoir, First Brush Your Teeth: Grief and Hope in Real Time, which released on Friday, January 21, 2022, from WordCrafts Press in hardback, trade paperback, and all major ebook formats. An intimate and unfiltered look at the day-in, day-out process of dealing with the loss of a child, this is not the book Lisa or any parent would want to write. But it it is one that needed to be written.

“I wish this book could have been about anything else—not about losing my son Chandler and each day trying to find a new normal, if there is such a thing,” Lisa muses. “But I am profoundly grateful that by living my grief process out loud through First, Brush Your Teeth, I am able to offer hope to others on their own journeys of loss and grief.”

“In the first days after losing Chandler, it was difficult to get up in the mornings and put one foot in front of the other,” she continues. “I told myself—first, brush your teeth. Then maybe you’ll walk to the closet and get dressed. Then maybe you’ll walk downstairs and grab a bite to eat. Maybe. But first, just brush your teeth.”

“Bereavement is a universal process,” said WordCrafts Press publisher Mike Parker. “Sooner or later, we all must walk that path. In First, Brush Your Teeth, Lisa doesn’t pull any punches. While she relies on her faith to get her through and allows joyful memories to weave through the pain and grief, there isn’t a hint of denial of the reality of the pain involved. It is gritty, and real, and at times heart-wrenching, but above all it is honest. And it might just offer hope to someone else dealing with such a profound loss.”

December 15, 2018, was a warm, sunny Southern California day. Not at all like frosty scenes in the Christmas cards that begin arriving in the mail about that time each year. I sat in the bedroom in my comfy armchair texting Chip and the kids, finalizing plans for that evening’s family outing to look at Christmas lights. I heard someone running down the stairs right outside my room and, not knowing which Espinoza kid it might be, hollered out, “Hey, can you go see Christmas lights with us tonight?”

Chandler yelled back, “I gotta get to work.”


At about 4:30 that afternoon, my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but as parents always do, I answered it just in case it had something to do with one of my kids.

“Hello, is this Chandler Espinoza’s mother?”
“Yes. Who is this?”
“I’m from Mission Hospital. Your son has been hit by a car.”

That’s the day everything changed.

About the Author

Lisa Espinoza is a voracious, life-long learner and will happily engage in conversations with anyone anytime about her latest topics of interest—currently the enneagram, raising puppies, gluten-free cooking (or better yet, not cooking), or anything related to health and fitness. With honesty, humor, and wisdom born of some tough life lessons, Lisa encourages and inspires others through her music, her writing, and her speaking. Among her favorite pastimes—swinging in her egg chair with a book and a kombucha, hiking, having all her family in the same room, and trying pretty much anything new.
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