Rebuilding a Life after Taking One
Available November 7, 2023
How do we rebuild after causing accidental death or injury?
Accidental injury is the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of forty-five. From fatal traffic accidents to firearms injuries to casualties of war to a deadly virus passed to an elderly loved one, accidental harm dates back almost as far as our human stories go. When these accidents occur, they pose profound and agonizing questions: What do we do when a death falls somewhere between a murder and an insurance claim? What if we are responsible for such harm? Is healing even possible?
Rooted in research on moral injury, religious rituals of confession and cleansing, and psychology--as well as the hard-won wisdom of someone who has been there--Accidental explores the complicated reality of accidental death and injury and offers companionship to those affected by these tragedies. Author, military veteran, and Episcopal priest David W. Peters walks with us through his own lonely journey after he unintentionally killed someone in a traffic accident and the journey of his family, as his brother was killed by a bus. Peters investigates the cars, guns, and systems that put some people and communities at more risk than others, and then draws wisdom from ancient cities of refuge, where accidental killers could find asylum. Accidental helps readers accept responsibility, see themselves in the stories of others, be open to mystical experiences, and find absolution and community. We can begin the journey of accountability, forgiveness, and restoration by asking spiritual questions of grief, penitence, trauma, and tragedy.