Excerpts & Testimonials
“Very, very excellent. I didn’t know the details of Dan’s story, but I thought I “got” him, from practicing law myself. But wow, what he did, while suffering debilitating grief, amazing. I can scarcely conceive. The writing is so crisp and clear.”
Everywhere Nowhere Excerpts
Introduction p. v - vii | Dr. Robert Anthony
I had no idea I would be writing an endorsement for this book. It was given to me by my friend, Barbara Saint John. Barbara is a Grief Specialist in Scottsdale, Arizona, who has built a very successful practice helping people to get through even the most challenging situations in their lives – especially the death of a loved one.
This book is written by one of her clients, Daniel Marco, who is a high profile criminal attorney in Arizona. The story is about the loss of his son, Zack, who was murdered in 2010. It is a narrative of the actual experience both as a father and as a criminal defense attorney who helped to track down the murders and bring them to justice.
When Barbara sent me this manuscript and asked me to read it, I was hesitant. However, Barbara and I have been friends for over 25 years so I said I would do it but it could take up to several weeks before I could get around to reading it.
A few days later, I had some spare time so I thought I would read part of the first chapter. This would give me a better idea what the book was about.
The end result is I could not put it down! I stopped everything and read the entire manuscript all the way through!
What I found fascinating is it is actually two stories in one. The first is about the actual event – the murder of Dan’s son Zack and how Dan helped to track down the killer who was eventually prosecuted. It was a high profile case that made the headlines in Arizona. From this perspective alone, it is well worth reading the book.
But the second story is even more compelling and the primary focus of the book. Dan takes you through his journey of how he learned, with Barbara’s help, to manage his overwhelming grief.
The insight he gained from the experience inspired him to share it with other people. Dan has never written a book before, but he discovered he had hidden talent for writing. Even though he was professionally trained as an attorney to use logical thinking, his deeper thinking was more engaging and emotionally moving than anything I have experienced in a long time.
If you are grieving over the loss of a loved one through natural causes such as an illness or accident, or he or she has been senselessly murdered like Dan’s son, you will find Dan’s journey extremely helpful, and you will find a lot of comfort. This is really an excellent read! I highly recommend it. If you are like me, more than likely you will feel compelled to read the entire book without putting it down.
Dr. Robert Anthony
Forward p. xiii - xiv | Daniel J. Marco
Contrary to many other books out there, in my experience, grief does not pass through predictable stages. Unlike the five stages of accepting death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, there are no stages of grief. There is no grand plan. Time does not heal all wounds. If anything, grief is amorphous, amoeba-like, shifting and turning to and fro without form or reason or warning. Each person's reaction to a loss stimuli is legitimate, it is personal, and it is fine. Do not fall into the trap where someone says, “You are in the anger phase. We need to get you to acceptance.” Ugh. These are the people that you walk away from, quickly.
Instead, recognize that you are exactly where you are, on a path that is as personal as a fingerprint. No one is to your right, no one is to your left. There is no one ahead of you and no one behind you. This may sound depressing, but it is not. Your path from loss to recovery is yours alone, and there is no right, no wrong, and no judgment as you go. If you feel judged, move on. There is no judgment here in this book, and that includes your promise, right now, not to judge me.
The truth is, the people in your life care what happens to you, but you scare them right now. Your friends, relatives, and work mates actually care about you and what you are going through, they just do not know what to do about it. But let's assume, just for a moment, that if they could talk to you, they would simply say, “You have the world's permission to come back out into the light. No matter how dark the path you have to walk to get to the light.”
Darkness is destroyed by light, even a faint light. Your friends and family want you to shine again if for no other reason than to make themselves more comfortable.
However, let's just do this for ourselves, not them.
Chapter 7. Vaporized p. 46 - 47 | Daniel J. Marco
My life, as I knew it, vaporized. At the moment my son passed away at the hands of two angry thugs who were after only his laptop computer and cell phone, I was no longer a criminal defense attorney.
What I was a failed father.
My son, my beloved son, my partner, my best friend was murdered. I failed to protect him. There is no redemption when that happens. An F is an F no matter the class average. On my report card as a father, I had a big, fat F. Even though intellectually I knew there was nothing I could have done to prevent his death, emotionally, I was an immediate failure. I tried. I failed.
When my son died, I lost all definition I once had, and I was totally redefined, at least for the moment: I was the parent of a murdered child. The parent of a murdered child and the police had no witnesses, no suspects and even less evidence.
I immediately sentenced myself to death, to start. That was the penalty for a failed father, and I was alright with that. I owed my son my life, and I would have gladly handed it to the reaper. I did not care.
It took a very long time for my own life to have any meaning to me again.
Chapter 21. The Process Begins and Other Things End p. 46 - 47 | Daniel J. Marco
One would think that I would have felt great relief at the news of the arrest. Most of the media called it “closure” for the Marco family.
“Closure” is a word that I have grown to hate.
There is no closure. In my case, the exact opposite was true. Having been a criminal defense lawyer for so long, I knew what was coming. To me, the next couple of years looked pretty dark, complete with camouflaged speed bumps thrown in for good measure.
You see, the American Criminal Justice System treats victims’ families like absolute, unadulterated, crap. They are not relevant. Victims are patronized. They are talked down to. They are treated like a nuisance and are the forever bane of the system. There is nothing like a pissed off victim to gum up the process: arrest, book, plea, release.
Victims tend to demand a punishment that actually fits the crime rather than the court's time.
The American Criminal Justice System is all about process: the process due to the accused rather than the victim. It is the process, not the guilt or innocence of the accused, which gives the State the right to punish. The accused is due a fair process, a fair trial. Then there’s an appeal that only looks at the process, ignoring, for the most part, the basic facts pointing to the guilt or innocence of the accused. “Due Process of Law.” That is the phrase; that is our theory. The problem is, no one really remembers that anymore. Criminal defendants in this country, broadly speaking, get more than their due.
Since the 1960's or so, the American Criminal Justice System morphed into a system that is way too concerned with the health, well-being, and rights of the accused.
The system simply forgot what process is due the accused: a fair trial. Period.
Part III. Chapter 7. The Consumption of Grief p. 46 - 47 | Barbara Saint John
It was my belief that now was a crucial time in his recovery, and I had to move him very gingerly from self-imposed isolation back to a world filled with love and hope.
When asked to describe how he felt, Dan explained it this way: “I feel like one of those movie clips. The one where there is a person, a central picture to the frame, and that person does not move. But all around him, people move at a blurring speed. People move in and out of the frame but the person in the center is basically motionless. The person maybe smiles, maybe looks around, but he is distinct and apart from the world moving around him. I am the person in the center. I see the world moving around me, and I can react to it if need be, but I am not a part of it. It is like I am the sun around which the rest of the world revolves, except I am not shining. I am a dead star.”
With that comment, I could see through many of the onion's layers. I asked him if he could bring in a photograph of something that illustrated how he felt. He came in the next week with a photo of Sir Winston Churchill, sitting with his back to the camera, staring out over a lake on a bleak day, wearing a bleak, winter’s overcoat. He was sitting there alone. Sir Winston Churchill was in the company of his thoughts.