Verndale native shares story of life and death in new book

Memoir details the months following an unexpected tragedy and of new life.

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The Borland family Tana, Tristan, Lucy (on Tristan's lap), Jill, Elijah (on Jill's Lap), Jovi, Sadie.
Contributed photo

PINE RIVER — Riverside Church Pastor Tristan Borland and wife Jill Borland have written a book about the 2016 death of their 3-year-old daughter Maria following a brief illness.

Jill is a Verndale High School graduate.

In "Life After Death: The struggle to live after the loss of a child", the Borlands write about living life in the aftermath of a tragedy.

The back-of-book summary reads: "How do you schedule a funeral for the sudden death of your three-year-old daughter when you are nine months pregnant? This is one of the many disorienting questions Tristan and Jill faced in the days following their daughter Maria's death. A Life After Death is their reflections as they faced the tragedy of death while still embracing life, faith, and hope. It is a love letter for the daughter they lost and for their children who continue to live."

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The book "Life After Death" was released in December 2021.
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For the past 11 years, Borland has been pastor at Riverview Church in Pine River. His wife, Jill often worked as a registered nurse while homeschooling their children. Together, they have raised a family surrounded by friends and neighbors who support them. Before Maria's death they had four daughters and one son and were expecting a fifth daughter only days later. Maria was their third daughter.


"We did most of our writing in the first few years after Maria died," Tristan said. "We delayed several years before deciding to publish. Once we found a publisher, the editing and rewriting process was pretty slow going, partly because we are both busy and have lots of other obligations and partly because it was emotionally difficult. At the end of the day, we're glad we completed the book, but it wasn't easy. We do hope it will be helpful for others who have lost."

The book is available on some local store shelves or online at Amazon or from publisher Wipf and Stock at

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