The Birthing Of From Eulogy To Joy
There are only a handful of events in life that without exception touch every single living human being—death is one of them.
Based on statistics from the National Center for Health and the National Funeral Directors Association, over 2,365,000 people will die this year in the United States. With increases in the population, the numbers will rise in the future. The deaths will leave millions of loved ones who remain with the challenge of coping with their losses.
On June 7, 1992, standing on a beautiful beach in South Carolina, I helplessly witnessed a series of events happening out in the ocean that I had difficulty understanding. I could not mentally grasp that my husband, after successfully helping to save our younger daughter’s life, had just been dragged down into the depths by an undertow and drowned. I was numb with disbelief; devastation and despair would come later.
Now, after eight years, I have reached a calm place of being ready for new beginnings. One of my new adventures is wanting to offer support, helpful information, and hope to grieving individuals. I have my own story and know that in many ways I can relate to others who are grieving, but I also know there are many other situations concerning loss that I cannot personally address.
My past interests and accomplishments in writing led me to the idea of compiling a collection of written works, all shared from the heart and first-hand experiences, which would deal with the stages and events that are part of the grieving process. I wanted people to be able to have a book which would comfort and reassure them that what they were feeling was normal and appropriate, that their attitudes and behavior were typical for persons in their situation. I knew that my story alone could not reassure all individuals, so I gathered the words and personal accounts of people who are “experts” by having experienced grief directly in a myriad of situations: loss of children, mates, parents, friends; loss through accidents, illness, suicide, murder. I looked for all the scenarios that have helped people through the process, allowing them to finally reach inner peace and renewed joy.
I believe people place worth on reliable, true, factual information. For that reason, From Eulogy To Joy is not a “How To” book, but rather a “How It Is” book, filled with genuine heartfelt expressions and useful knowledge concerning the hard work of grieving and the peaceful acceptance that finally follows. The contributions are graphic. The authors aren’t just telling about what they lived and grew through; they show it with the specific details of their personal experiences. As a result, they offer support, helpful information, and courageous ideas for others going through very difficult times in their lives.
The message derived from the hundreds of submissions was that bereaved people needed to share their feelings with others whom they felt could understand or listen with an empathic ear. In reading From Eulogy To Joy, you will not only know that you are not alone, but will see that the many different reactions, stages, time frames, and individual ways of coping are all okay. If you are dealing with the death of someone close to you, you will recognize yourself in the writings, which in turn will allow you to feel comfortable with whatever stage of the grieving process you are presently in. The writers have created a support system for all who read it.
While assembling the articles, I struggled with the categorization of the pieces. While each essay is individual and unique, all of them contain and explore myriad elements of the greiving process. I hope that over time you will read chapters that do not at first attract your attention, because every chapter has elements that touch upon the subject matter of others.
My wish for all of you is that you understand the strengths, faith, and rewards that can be gained through the self-work of openly and honestly addressing all the issues of death, even those that involve emotions and feelings we aren’t “supposed” to have. I hope that this book will become a powerful communication tool and inspirational guide during your survival.