I have taken a different approach to writing about Valerie Albrecht’s beautiful book about grieving. The launch of this book came just before the cancellations and closures of many things due to the COIVD-19 pandemic.
It was to be launched by natural death advocate and artist Vickie Hingston-Jones. Vickie is also President of the Artists Society of Canberra. Sadly, Vickie was unwell on the occasion of the launch, but she has kindly consented to the reproduction of her opening address.
I do not feel I can write anything that adds light to these sage and well crafted words and so I present her speech here with a couple of minor deletions of parts relevant to the live event:
Vickie’s book launch speech:
It is an inescapable truth that unless we have never loved, we will face the sorrow and pain of loss.
In 1975, Elisabeth Kubler–Ross said, ‘Death does not need to be a catastrophic, destructive thing: indeed, it can be viewed as one of the most constructive positive and creative elements of culture and life.’
I am an end of life doula. I walk the final path with people and families. That path may be long – from wellness then illness through dying and death then on to grieving and funerals. Or short – working with a family to create a meaningful funeral.
In working with people who are grieving, I see three things emerge over and over again:
Most people don’t know how to cope with grief.
Most people search for meaning in death.
Most people interacting with a bereaved person get stuck for words.
Thirty Days addresses all these issues.
I hear all the time –
‘I don’t know how to do this.’
‘Am I going crazy?’