Unfinished Conversation: Healing from Suicide and Loss

Unfinished Conversation: Healing from Suicide and Loss

by Robert Lesoine, Marilynne Chophel

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Unfinished Conversations is a story of profound grief and the journey to healing that followed. Based on a journal Robert Lesoine kept during the two years following the suicide of his best friend, Unfinished Conversations will help readers through the process of reflecting on and affirming the raw immediacy of survivors’ emotions. Each short


Unfinished Conversations is a story of profound grief and the journey to healing that followed. Based on a journal Robert Lesoine kept during the two years following the suicide of his best friend, Unfinished Conversations will help readers through the process of reflecting on and affirming the raw immediacy of survivors’ emotions. Each short chapter focuses on a different aspect of the author’s experience as he transforms his anger and guilt to understanding and forgiveness.

Licensed psychotherapist Marilynne Chöphel brings her professional background to Robert Lesoine’s deeply personal story to create an accessible path to self-directed healing based on mindful awareness and sound clinical practices. Readers work through their own grieving and healing process with end-of-chapter exercises and activities. An appendix and website, unfinishedconversation.com, provide additional resources to survivors.

The tools and techniques in Unfinished Conversations will help readers release past trauma, honor their relationship with their lost loved one, and find greater perspective, meaning, and well-being in their lives.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Expertly woven into the raw feelings expressed in the journaling of Lesoine’s loss are the tools and techniques of Marilynne Chöphel that will help to understand, heighten, experience and refine these emotions. The authors claim this journey will help anyone left after a suicide find greater perspective, meaning, and well-being in their lives. I agree without reservation…The willingness of Lesoine to share his feelings in such an honest and sometimes vulnerable manner disarmed me. I connected with experience in a way that made differences in vocation, stage of life, or spiritual views irrelevant…[Through his] shared spiritual experiences—though different than my own—that I was able to connect so deeply with the book…Unfinished Conversation: Healing from Suicide and Loss is a book that I will use in my own clinical practice and one that I will recommend to friends and family. The book helps to create some understanding out of an experience that is largely devoid of it. Most importantly, the book helps to believe that there really is hope that it gets better.”—American Association of Suicidology

Unfinished Conversation chronicles a path of transformation from anger and despair to compassion and liberation. We may have lost a loved one, but with mindfulness, concentration, and insight, we have the possibility of helping ourselves and the many loved ones around us."—Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

“Suicide is a pain that never quite disappears. This eloquent book is a personal companion for those left behind, a friend nudging us forward with compassion and wisdom to see below, behind, and beyond the limitations of our current understanding. Highly recommended for anyone who wishes to keep the heart open after losing a loved one in this way.”—Christopher Germer, Ph.D., author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion

“This compelling, raw and honest book follows one man’s emergence through the anguish of great loss—a best friend’s suicide. While accompanying him, we are given a powerful set of tools that can support us in navigating and healing from the suicide of loved ones. Beautifully written, this book is pure medicine for the grieving heart.”—Tara Brach, Ph.D., author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge

Unfinished Conversation is a wise, deep, and powerful book... pulsing with honesty… it offers a path through suffering to some resolution and understanding. The authors handle a difficult topic with Grace.”
—Fred Luskin Ph.D., Director, Stanford Forgiveness Project and author of Forgive for Good and The Nine Steps to Forgiveness

“An extraordinary piece of work. Tough to read, impossible to stop. Recovering from a loved-one’s suicide requires nothing less than everything we have. We need courage and real tools to approach the wounded heart unflinchingly, with love and wisdom. Marilynne Chöphel and Robert Lesoine provide those real tools, abundantly. It is possible to start again. Reading Unfinished Conversation will prove that over and over.” —Richard Heckler Ph.D., author of Waking Up, Alive

“Thank you for the courage to look into this well of darkness and despair plaguing modernity and the world as a whole. More importantly, thank you for your courage to excavate the tragic and for making it yield the healing gems hidden within. May this gift serve as a map and a guide to numberless people trapped in this dark landscape of sorrow, and longing to come home.”—Malidoma Patrice Somé, author of Ritual and The Healing Wisdom of Africa

“Twenty-five years ago my sister took her own life. Recently I began working with the exercises for survivors that Robert Lesoine and Marilynne Chöphel offer in Unfinished Conversation. Guided by their questions, I was able to remember and release some deep unhealed grief and move on in my own life in a new way, deepened and transformed by my journey into and out of profound grief. I am now using the book with a support group I facilitate for survivors, confident that this journey will lead them to genuine healing.”—Shoshana Alexander, co-author of Awakening Joy

Unfinished Conversation is a compelling account of one mans' personal journey depicting the human capacity to search and find meaning, love and beauty in both life and death... even in the midst of great sorrow. The authors include practical strategies that can offer healing in the wake of a suicide.”—Jean Larch, author of Dying To be Free

“Suicide strikes our hearts unlike any other loss often leaving us feeling a unique incompleteness. Unfinished Conversation shares the author's personal healing journey through the loss of a dear friend to suicide. Their writing guides the reader through a structured journaling process that may help many on the path from tragedy to transformation. Robert Lesoine and Marilynne Chöphel MFT have combined their own learning with classical grief work to provide a very accessible toolkit to support healing.”—Frank Ostaseski, co-founder, The Zen Hospice Project, author of Being a Compassionate Companion

“This book is a much-needed tool and source of hope for the family and friends of those who suicide, a valuable resource that addresses each of the challenges and each stage of grieving in a very moving, mindful way.”—Janina Fisher Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, International Trainer, and leader in the treatment of trauma

Product Details

Parallax Press
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Penguin Random House Publisher Services
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657 KB

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Meet the Author

Robert Emile Lesoine, MA, Ed. is an educator, musician, and writer living in Santa Monica, CA, where he’s been teaching music in primary schools for 35 years. He’s the creator of two full-stage musicals, Body Snatchers: The Musical, and Last Night at Playland.

Marilynne Chöphel has been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for over 20 years, and specializes in the treatment of trauma. A yoga and meditation teacher as well, Chöphel’s work with survivors incorporates mindfulness and body-mind awareness. She is the mother of two adult sons and lives in San Rafael, California.

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