“When we lose a child, a spouse, or a close friend, it is isolating at first, but ultimately we feel even more connected to others.

There’s a liberating fearlessness that comes from this knowledge of the fragility of life.

When we truly grasp that this present moment is all we have, there is nothing left to do but give everything we’ve got, expecting nothing in return..”

We know our hearts will probably be broken, and we choose to love anyway.

Stay in touch

Now Available LOCALLY at
Organic Books: 111 Carlisle Blvd. on Nob Hill in Albuquerque
Cornerstone Bookstore: 1700 St Michaels Drive in Santa Fe

Signings & Press

To see all of Janis’s upcoming book signings or interviews that she’s done, please see the MEDIA page.


Hope glows from the pages of this intimate narrative. With grace, sensitivity, and humor, Janis Gonzales shares tender insights about the heights and depths of love and grief. Her story calls each of us to face the challenges of transformation, and gifts us with wisdom about how to make that journey.”

Kathryn Lynard, author/editor of
Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives

Weaving together her wisdom for both mothering and medicine, Dr. Gonzales creates a beautiful tapestry of loss, love and hope. By the end of the book, I felt the warm weight and deep spirit of her daughter, as if she were in my own arms calling me to life.”

Rev. Linda C. Loving, Presbyterian Pastor and author of A New Song to Sing: Breast Cancer as Journey of Spirit

Lessons from a Gentle Life is a poignant sharing of hard-earned wisdom:how we can be more fully human in this world and how we grow to understand our own failings and strengths. This book is a beautiful testament to the immense difference a short, young life can make in this world.”

Shari O’Loughlin, Executive Director, Children’s Grief Center of NM; Bereaved Mom; Author of Life from the Ashes; Finding Signs of Hope After Loss/h5>

As she draws us into her unimaginable heartache, Janis Gonzales brings hope and comfort to anyone who has experienced loss. I highly recommend this gift of healing.

Cathy Chavez R.N., oncology nurse and author of
Hold Every Moment Sacred


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About "Lessons from a Gentle Life"

At its most fundamental level, this is a story of a child’s life and death, and a mother’s subsequent struggle to find meaning again and to live an examined life.  But this is much more than another personal memoir; it is a heartfelt, incisive, sometimes painful and often funny description of the way in which a mother’s life was transformed by the lessons she learned from her young daughter, lessons that enabled her to become resilient and, in time, to fully live, and even find joy, after a devastating loss.

From her unique perspective as a physician, mother, spiritual seeker, and writer, Dr. Gonzales uses the story of her daughter’s life as a springboard to discuss such broad-ranging topics as the practice of medicine, prenatal testing, the power of prayer, the search for guidance, and the need for connection, giving us a profoundly moving look into both the depths of grief and the possibilities of hope.

She shows us how to help someone who is grieving, and how we can go on and find healing in the face of devastating loss.  Through it all runs a bond of pure love between a mother and a daughter, a love so powerful it goes on, even after death.

This book is a gift to anyone who has suffered from an illness, anyone who has grieved a painful loss, and anyone who has been forced to realize that life doesn’t happen according to plan.

About Janis

Cariana and her Mom
Cariana and her Mom

Janis Gonzales, MD, MPH, FAAP
is a Board Certified Pediatrician and the President of the New Mexico chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Gonzales has a B.A. from Illinois Wesleyan University, a Master’s in Public Health from the University of New Mexico, and a Medical Doctorate from the University of Illinois Chicago.

She is also the Family Health Bureau Chief, Medical Director and Title V Director for the New Mexico Department of Health, where she works on a variety of issues affecting the maternal and child population.

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She has also served for the past eight years as the Medical Director for Children’s Medical Services, the New Mexico program for children with special healthcare needs.

She majored in English and History as an undergraduate, helped fund her education by editing classmates’ papers, and has loved reading and writing for her entire life.