On Grief, Hope, and Motorcycles: A Diary by Candiya Mann
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Her boyfriend died the day after returning from the last deployment of his career. On August 22nd, 2012, Candiya’s boyfriend, Mike, set off on a motorcycle road trip with his friends. About an hour later, she got the call. He had been in an accident, and “he didn’t make it.” She was devastated. Starting from scratch, with everything she knew about the world and herself shattered, she began to build a new life. There was no guarantee that she would survive this journey. But she knew, instinctively, that there was no choice but to move forward. To remain still was certain death. And so, like a blind woman, she began to feel her way step-by-step through the darkness. About six months after the accident, she began to write. This writing was an act of desperation, an act of self-preservation, an act of defiance. She wrote essays about life after the accident and posted them to an anonymous blog. It was everything that she couldn’t say out loud, everything that our society wasn’t comfortable hearing. It was the truth of her experience. In her journey towards healing, she continued to ride her own motorcycle. She started out as a beginner and eventually began to take motorcycle road trips herself. Her first solo trip took her from Washington State to California, over 2,000 miles. She wrote up her motorcycle travels in “ride reports”, a type of travel blog posted on motorcycle forums.
This book, On Grief, Hope, and Motorcycles, is a collection of Candiya’s blog posts and ride reports – a diary of sorts – chronicling her journey from despair to peace, redemption, and ultimately, joy. It is an unflinching window into one woman’s path towards healing, including the ugly, painful, awkward, funny, and absurd stories along the way. It is a story of stepping up, again and again, and reaching for life.