GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — She’s an Army spouse, a mother of three, a volunteer and a best-selling author at Amazon. And she lives among us.
Paigerian D. Hervey, whose husband is assigned to 902nd Engineer Company with the 15th Engineer Battalion, hails from Mississippi. She published her first book, From My Womb to Heaven: My Testimony of Love, Loss and Healing through Jesus Christ, in April of this year.
I met with her to talk about her book and her life as military spouse. Here’s what she had to say.
You wrote the foreword to Pain 2 Passion: Our Valley Experience, a compilation of women’s stories, which was an Amazon best seller. But you recently authored your own personal story titled From My Womb to Heaven: My Testimony of Love, Loss and Healing through Jesus Christ, which was a #1 best seller at Amazon. And it stayed on the best seller list for over two weeks. Tell us a little about this book and what inspired you to write it.
My husband and I lost two sets of twins in a very short time span. It was a devastating time for my husband and me. Writing the book was my way of helping other women heal. That is what really inspired me to do it. There are a lot of women that are dealing with the death of their children, miscarriages, still births whatever the case may be and they have a hard time healing from such a loss. It helps them heal when you have someone who has been through it and can inspire you and help you realize that there is a purpose behind that pain. That was my inspiration for writing the book. I wanted to help women. I wanted to help women heal and help them realize that there is so much more inside of you. I wanted to teach them how to channel that hurt and pain and make it into something grand which is what I call purpose.
Who did you write this book for? Who should read it?
I honestly wrote it for families, not just women alone. When you lose a child, it affects everyone: Your husband, your children, you, your mother, everyone. So I wrote it for families. I want families to be able to read it and say, “Okay, let’s make purpose from it. Let’s channel our purpose through this book.” I want a generation of families to read it.
What is the book meant to do? Some of your book reviews mention steps to healing.
That’s correct. I wanted to elaborate on steps to healing. In the book, I mention the three steps that I had to take spiritually in order to heal emotionally and mentally. So I wrote these steps out. For me — I am a Christian — so for me my faith is what brought about those three steps. A lot of women who read the book and wrote reviews were Christian women also. They were able to look at these steps and say, “Okay, first I need to accept that I cannot change what happened.” The second step is that I need to pray and I need to ask God to heal my heart so that I can move forward. The third step is that I need to accept that healing. I need to accept it and I need to find a purpose in it. There is always a reason why we go through things. I wanted that step to be the stepping block for a family — a man, a woman, a child to go to the next step in their life and realize that there is so much more that God has for them.
It seems that out of great loss you gained incredible strength. What advice would you give to other military spouses on gaining spiritual strength?
I encourage them to go and see their chaplain. They have chaplains here on post and on every post. He can guide you spiritually. I also encourage people to just sit down and pray for yourself. Pray that God give you the strength to face the challenges ahead. He was the one who gave me my strength. I could not get it from my spouse, I could not get it from my pastor, I could not get it from a chaplain. I had to get it directly from Him (God). One thing I would also say to spouses — when you do go through something like this — it sometimes tends to bring you and your spouse closer. I would encourage them to take advantage of that closeness. You will need each other more than you know. But most of all, prayer. Prayer can definitely help you spiritually. It can change the dynamics of your situation. It can help you come to terms with what is happening and it can lead you on the path to what is destined for you and your family. The God that I serve is listening and is always there to help you pick up the pieces of your shattered heart and give you strength and peace that passes all that you can understand. No man can give you that type of strength or peace. Only God can.
There are times when the military life seems to add an additional burden on one’s family, but also times when it presents unique opportunities and situations. Tell us about an especially joyful or funny experience you had as military spouse or mother.
Moving all over the place is absolutely thrilling to me. I never in my life thought that I’d be in different states let alone different countries and that is the most exhilarating feeling — being away from where you grew up and exploring the world. That’s the best part to being a military spouse to me. I find joy in being able to uproot my family and take them somewhere new. That’s just me. My kids may not like it, but I love being able to find something new somewhere else and make memories in a new place. I know so many great people because of PCS-ing and military life in general. I have made so many connections with people, that now I consider them family. So now I have family all over the place because of the military.
It seems you take a lot of your joy out of your faith, family and volunteer work. What do you enjoy doing?
Volunteering at the Gospel service here on Graf (Tower Barracks), at the USO. Those are the things that I want to continue doing. That makes me happy. I love singing and I love cooking. Singing makes me extremely happy. It brings me so much joy. Mix singing and cooking and you have one happy girl. I love it!
What comes next?
Myself and a few bereavement Doulas will try to bring together a community of women, military spouses and service members who have lost children. We are going to try to do sessions once a month so that they can just talk. They sometimes just need someone to listen, someone who has experienced it. We are hoping to have chaplains present so that they can pray together if they like. That is the next step: Trying to bring awareness to still birth and miscarriages all over the Army. And not just military spouses. There are service members who have miscarriages too. It is a hard thing to overcome. My goal is to bring awareness to it and try to get something set up for them, for their husbands, for their children. It is a family affair. It doesn’t just happen to that person, that wife or that service member. It happens to the family. I want to continue on that path, bringing awareness to the seriousness of the matter. And hopefully, I will continue writing.
What advice do you have for other military families living in Bavaria?
See as much of Europe as you possible can. This is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity. Take advantage of it. Have the time of your life. Stay safe and have fun. Live to the fullest of your ability here in Europe. I love it. I have been to seven countries already. I never thought I would do anything like that. Plan a trip during every four-day break if you can. Even if it is a trip right here in Germany. Be thankful that you have the opportunity.