Jonesboro man shares lifelong grief struggle in hopes of transforming lives

Thursday Midday Cody Powell 7-18-19

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Cody Powell’s father committed suicide when he and his sister were children. Cody blamed himself and struggled with “why” –until he put thoughts on paper.

He’s a son, brother, husband, father and now Cody Powell can add one more title… author. Powell works daily as director of brokerage at E.C. Barton & Company. He never thought writing a book would be on his resume.

Cody Powell has written a book that he saws provided inner peace and was liberating.
Cody Powell has written a book that he saws provided inner peace and was liberating. (Source: KAIT-TV)

“Honestly, when I first started typing it, I didn’t think it would be a book,” Powell said of a manuscript that turned into a book about the loss of his father and his struggle with grief and loss. “It was more about getting my own thoughts and feelings and emotions out on paper… getting all of that bottled up pain out of me. The next thing I know after I’ve been typing for a while, I’ve got 7,000 words and this could actually be something that maybe somebody else could relate to and it could help them as well.”

The story is one of loss, struggle and deep sorrow.

Shane Powell, Cody’s father, lost his battle with addictive drugs in March 2000. Cody was young and remembers some things that led up to his father taking his own life.

“So when it first all happened, I was a child and I don’t remember all of it,” Cody said. “But, a lot of the stories I’ve heard, he was basically going to school at night or going to school all day and working the night shift. Trying to take care of a little kid and help as much as he could at the house so he was just searching for something that would give him some kind of energy…keep him awake at night…and the rest is history.”

Powell committed suicide when his wife, Shauna, was at work. Their children were in school. He was 32 years old. Not far from the age Cody is now.

He remembers playing catch with his Dad in the front yard of their home. Shane, much to the dismay of his wife, had build a pitcher’s mound in the front yard—not the back. Those memories are special and as vivid as yesterday. Baseball was always a connection to Cody’s past and the father he loved.

“I had one of his dog tags that Mom gave me after he passed and so I wore it around my neck,” Cody said. “I would walk around the mound after the last pitch I threw in warm-ups. I would kiss that dog tag and look up at the sky and look up and just kind of put my mind at ease. It just made me feel better that –you know stepping up that he was right there with me.“

His sister, Caitlyn Powell, and wife, Jordan, watch just off camera as Cody share his memories. They both support his effort to write the book, “Defeating 19 Years of Grief.”

“Men, we just don’t like to let it out,” Cody said about the emotions he has dealt with for 19 years. “We like to bottle it up and keep this tough exterior. It just gave me an opportunity to get it all out there.”

Cody’s book is available for download at: https://gum.co/19-years-of-grief He said writing the e-book was “liberating” and he hopes it helps others to find “inner peace.”

“I’ve had a large number of people reach out to me,” he said after the e-book was made available online. “Fifteen to twenty people have texted me or Facebook messaged me just reached out and said either “I appreciate you doing this.” “Thank you for getting that out or I can relate.” “I’m going through the same thing or I lost my husband and I have a daughter that’s now 11. She’s dealing with some of the same struggles that you did.”

Cody also shares daily inspiration through his Twitter feed. His handle is: @CFPowell.

“So I think a lot of people can relate to it. Even if you didn’t lose a parent, you can relate to it,” Cody said. “We all carry burdens and we all carry struggles and pain.”

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