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After Effects: A Memoir of Complicated Grief

After Effects: A Memoir of Complicated Grief

by Andrea Gilats
After Effects: A Memoir of Complicated Grief

After Effects: A Memoir of Complicated Grief

by Andrea Gilats


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An intensely moving and revelatory memoir of enduring and emerging from exceptional grief

To grieve after a profound loss is perfectly natural and healthy. To be debilitated by grief for more than a decade, as Andrea Gilats was, is something else. In her candid, deeply moving, and ultimately helpful memoir of breaking free of death’s relentless grip on her life, Gilats tells her story of living with prolonged, or “complicated,” grief and offers insight, hope, and guidance to others who suffer as she did. 

Thomas Dayton, Andrea Gilats’s husband of twenty years, died at 52 after a five-month battle with cancer. In After Effects Gilats describes the desolation that followed and the slow and torturous twenty-year journey that brought her back to life. In the two years immediately following his death, Gilats wrote Tom daily letters, desperately trying to maintain the twenty-year conversation of their marriage. Excerpts from these letters reveal the depth of her despair but also the glimmer of an awakening as they also trace a different, more typical course of the grief experienced by one of Gilats's colleagues, also widowed. Gilats’s struggle to rescue herself takes her through the temptation of suicide, the threat of deadly illness, the overwhelming challenges of work, and the rigor of learning and eventually teaching yoga, to a moment of reckoning and, finally, reconciliation to a life without her beloved partner. Her story is informed by the lessons she learned about complicated grief as a disorder that, while intensely personal, can be defined, grappled with, and overcome.

Though complicated grief affects as many as one in seven of those stricken by the loss of a close loved one, it is little known outside professional circles. After Effects points toward a path of recuperation and provides solace along the way—a service and a comfort that is all the more timely and necessary in our pandemic-ravaged world of loss and isolation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781517912185
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication date: 02/15/2022
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 720,274
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Andrea Gilats is a writer, educator, artist, and former yoga teacher who was the cofounder and longtime director of the University of Minnesota’s legendary Split Rock Arts Program, a nationally renowned series of residential workshops in visual art and creative writing, as well as Split Rock Online Mentoring for Writers. She is author of Restoring Flexibility: A Gentle Yoga-Based Practice to Increase Mobility at Any Age and has written many articles about aging. 

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Story Untold ix

Part I Drowning

1 Into Widowhood 3

2 A Verbatim Experience of Grief 17

3 Get Over It or Get Sick 43

4 Leave Your Grief at Home and Do Your Work at the Office 64

5 Complicated Grief 77

6 Distress in Occupational Functioning 91

Part II Surfacing

7 The Music Lives 101

3 Moving Out, Moving In 115

9 Defying Death 124

10 Health, Helping, and Healing 137

11 A Close Brush with Death 155

l2 For the Sake of My Soul 181

13 Reconciliation 196

Acknowledgments 205

Bibliography 209

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