|Suburban Week - Volume 2 No. 18 - May 10, 2001
Kristina Strom (left) and Cynthia Beischel with copies of their new book, From Eulogy to Joy
From Glendale, A Book About Dealing With The Loss Of A Loved OneBy Shannon Hill
|"There are only a handful of events in life that without exception
touch every single living human being -- death is one of them."
That is the opening line of the introduction in a recently published
collection of written works dealing with death and grieving compiled and
published by two Village of Glendale women -- Cynthia Beischel and
Kristina Chase Strom.
The journey through grief can be a long and difficult one,
doesn't come with a pre-charted road map. Though the experience is
different for every person and each must make his or her own way through
the tunnel to the other end, there are some common detours that fall
into everyone's path along the way.
After finding solace on their own roads from eulogy to joy, Beischel
and Strom compiled a collection of written works to help others navigate
through their grief -- their recently published anthology entitled From
Eulogy to Joy.
Kristina Strom (left) and Cynthia Beischel signed copies of their new book recently with contributor Rebecca Wright for Carl Ahrens at the New World Bookshop in Cincinnati's Clifton area. They will sign copies from 7 to 9 p.m. May 17 at the Borders bookstore in Springdale.
Their book is the result of a seven-year process involving more than 130 individuals (including more than 20 in the Greater Cincinnati area) who were willing to share their personal experiences dealing with the various stages and events that are a part of the grieving process.
"This isn't a quick fix or how-to book," said Strom. "This book has
something to say. It's a reference book to be picked up throughout the
entire grieving process."
The co-collaborators agree that the book is not one to be read
cover-to-cover. The subject matter is deep and can be overwhelming at
times. But it's also a necessary and often welcome tool for those in
any stage of the grieving process who need support and comfort.
"This is a book where one piece may hit you at one moment and another
piece may be more meaningful to you six months or a year later," said
"We want people to be able to pick up this anthology and find comfort
and reassurance that what they are feeling is normal and appropriate,
that their attitudes and behavior are typical for persons in their
Beischel and Strom have both experienced the difficulties of dealing
with the loss of a family member and are just two of the 130-plus
"experts" that lend their insights on the subject through their
first-hand accounts dealing with the loss of loved ones -- children,
mates, parents and friends -- through accidents, illness, suicide and
"When we came up with the concept of From Eulogy to Joy, we weren't
there yet," Strom said, "but we were hoping it would get us there."
Readers, especially those already dealing with loss, will understand
the book's message of hope and find comfort in sharing in the feelings
of others who have suffered through bereavement.
"We started putting this book together because we were both grieving a
family member and were having a hard time coping with the losses," said
Strom, who was traumatized when her mother died, leaving her to deal
with not only her own grief but that of her father and six younger
siblings. "No matter how many well-meaning people try to help, there's
just no getting over death. It's an experience to go through and to
Beischel, who kept a journal to help her work through problems after
her husband died, sets the tone of growth and journeying to the new
beginnings in the introduction of the book as she shares just a few of
the feelings she experienced when she witnessed her husband's death.
"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."
But now, after nearly nine years have passed, she has found a sense of
calm, and hopes to share some helpful information and support necessary
to reach a new beginning.
"Not everyone is going to tell you the same thing about grief,"
Beischel said. "Each of the more than 500 submissions we considered for
the book dealt with a different experience and we were faced with the
task of narrowing those down to less than 150 works that are categorized
by topic in the book."
The 19 chapters of the book are divided into such topics as "The Deaths
of Parents," "Spouses, Mates and Ex's," "The Loss of Friends,"
"Children's Perspectives," "Reaching Out to God and Spirituality," "The
Gift of Support" and "Joy."
"The book is annotated and designed so that if you're in a certain mood
you can pick it up and flip to the chapter that will help you deal with
the emotions you're experiencing," Strom said.
"We've really done a lot of radical things in this book. There's no
way that one person can tell you all there is to know about death and
grieving. The 130-plus voices from From Eulogy to Joy offer very
different perspectives and create a multi-dimensional approach to the
A small advertisement placed in Writer's Digest sent the call out for
submissions to the project. The result was a national voice joining
forces with more than 20 local writers sharing their messages of grief
and the journey to joy. The book includes pieces by Alan Zweibel, who
shares an excerpt from his book about Gilda Radner, and Judith Jacklin
Belushi, who offers an excerpt from her book dealing with the loss of
husband John Belushi.
Closer to home, Strom and Beischel are joined by such writers as
Glendale residents Linda Ewing, Barbara Parks and Merritt and Lindsay
Beischel (daughters of co-creator Cynthia Beischel), as well as Mason
area residents Paul Handermann and Mary Kuenzig.
"This is an important work that we hope will be around forever," Strom
said. "The intensity of this project has truly enhanced our lives.
We've learned so much about death and grief through this process and
it's just the tip of the iceberg."
Storm and Beischel have already received rave reviews from contributors
to the book. After Alan Zweibel (one of the original writers on
Saturday Night Live who wrote about his grief following the loss of his
friend, Gilda Radner) finished reading the book, he called to say it was
one of the most important books he had ever read.
"My dream for the book is that it be as constant a source and as
important as the Webster's dictionary or the encyclopedia," Strom said.
"Of course, a best seller would be nice. Who would turn their nose up
at that? But this book has a life of its own and is truly a group
effort. It does have something valid to say."
From Eulogy to Joy can be found in New World Bookshop in Clifton,
Joseph Beth Booksellers, and the Century House in Glendale as well as
on-line at amazon.com, BN.com and borders.com.
We're just two little matrons and single moms from Glendale," Beischel
said. "We've created this thing and we know it has value. It's already
caught people's hearts."
Strom and Beischel will be signing their book from 7 to 9 p.m.
Thursday, May 17, at the Borders bookstore in Springdale.
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