For most people, the pain of loss dominates their experience of grief. Grief then becomes something to be avoided or completed as quickly as possible. In her new book, Lisa Irish presents grief as our “ally” in the Land of Loss and offers pathways and resources to navigate the confusing and challenging terrain. She explores “conscious grieving,” as she gathers the wisdom of bereavement experts, spiritual leaders and everyday people walking their own individual paths. Lisa encourages us to let seeds of hope find their way into our grieving hearts, to allow self-compassion during the journey, and to trust grief’s healing process. Grieving - The Sacred Art makes a space for love in our sadness and leads us into a Land of Hope.
About the Author
Lisa Irish, MEd, MA has been offering retreats and presentations for over twenty-five years. As the bereavement coordinator for Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of St Raphael in New Haven, CT, she ministered to grieving individuals, groups and community organizations. A chaplain and spiritual director, Lisa’s writing creates connection and insight for her readers. Her work has been published by Abbey Press in the self-help book, Grieving with a Grateful Heart and several CareNotes; Open to Hope, an online grief forum; and her blog at www.lisairish.com.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Alone 1
Chapter 1 Entering Loss 5
Chapter 2 Gathering Your Resources 21
Chapter 3 Unexpected Landmarks and Land Mines 33
Part 2 Passage 47
Chapter 4 Challenges and Changes to Your Identity 49
Chapter 5 Our Guides and Our Gatekeepers 61
Chapter 6 Creating Your Own Map 80
Part 3 Surrender 93
Chapter 7 A Courageous Choice 95
Chapter8 Letting Go into Love 116
Part 4 Changed 135
Chapter 9 Contemplate a New Horizon 137
Chapter 10 Land of Hope 154
Final Thoughts 168
Suggestions for Further Reading 185
The book is drawn from my own understanding of grief, as well as many years as a chaplain. I facilitated a bereavement program for the Hospital of St Raphael in New Haven, CT and Yale-New Haven Hospital, also in New Haven. In that role as bereavement chaplain, I offered private sessions - creating a safe place for people to experience their loss and move through the difficult feelings. In addition, I ran support groups for those with like-losses (loss of a spouse, loss of a child, a parent). There were regular opportunities to educate people on grief as well as work in special areas of support. For example, I have led a workshop for staff of group homes for people with disabilities, spoke with a church and synagogue congregations, and led a “holiday and grief” program for people in an assisted-living facility.