Short essays by Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., the author of TING AND I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion, published in September 2011 by Outskirts Press (Parker, CO, USA), available from outskirtspress.com/tingandi, Barnes and Noble [bn.com], and Amazon [amazon.com], in paperback or ebook formats. Please visit us at tingandi.com for more information.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
GOOD GRIEF, "Foreword"
As a health psychologist with an expertise in the field of stress management, one of my mentors of the allied health profession was the renowned psychologist, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross. Known throughout the world for her work on the topic of death and dying, she not only shed light on the stages of the grieving process from loss (i.e., denial, anger, bargaining, withdrawal and acceptance), but taught several generations of people from around the world how to move through the grieving process with grace and dignity. I learned many things from her over the many decades she served as my mentor, role model and friend. One of the most important aspects I learned about life was how to embrace the grieving process — and move through it. Too many people, she would often remind me, get stuck and don’t know how to get home again. “Returning home again is a metaphor for returning to wholeness,” she said.
Another one of my heroes and role models in the field of psychology and human potentials is the renowned cultural mythologist, Joseph Campbell. Although I never personally met him, I have been greatly influenced by his collective works. His template of The Hero’s Journey is a sojourn that we are all on. Perhaps the greatest trial of each hero is to face their own death; to learn to grieve and move on. Taking that first step out of the darkness and into the light is the realization that death is an illusion; yet, the emotions we experience through any death process are very real. As we evolve, the strength of the human spirit through the maturation of these emotions, moving from fear to love, we illuminate the hero’s journey pathway even brighter for others, making their journeys that much more bearable.
No matter how long or short your time is here on planet Earth, you will experience loss. This is part of the human condition. With each loss, no matter how big or small, we are ultimately faced with a choice: to either wallow endlessly in the pit of despair, or to emerge from the darkness of grief, into the light. Experts will tell you that grieving is normal, grieving is healthy, and everyone grieves in their own way, all of which is true. Experts will also tell you that prolonged grieving is unhealthy. Prolonged grieving becomes a dead end, and offers no way to get back home, no way to return to wholeness. While you may feel alone, even stuck on your journey, remember you are never alone. You have friends, both seen and unseen.
If you are holding this book in your hands, then you have quickly learned that one of your new friends is Cheryl Barrett, who serves as a wonderful guide. Cheryl’s book is filled with many great tips, suggestions and guidelines to move gracefully through the grieving process and come through as a victor, not a victim. Cheryl has been there. She has experienced heart-breaking loss, and she has come through the other side gracefully. She has, in the words of Joseph Campbell, “returned home.” In doing so, she offers you this book: a map and compass of sorts, to get you back home again, home to a sense of peace, home to a sense of wholeness. Welcome home!
Brian Luke Seaward, PhD Author, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward Paramount Wellness Institute Boulder, CO www.brianlukeseaward.net
With her permission, I will be serializing nurse Cheryl Barrett's valuable book on transcending grief. I had the pleasure of being her coach and editor through my Write Your Book with Me enterprise.
Douglas Winslow Cooper, PhD
Perhaps the easiest way to obtain a copy of her book is through this