True Stories of Grief and Healing
This book reveals genuine, heartfelt nuggets of wisdom for the arduous journey of grief and healing.
Always, our strength resides deep within our heart — in the enduring love for people we cherish.
About the Book
Heart Guide: True Stories of Grief and Healing reveals the inspirational, true accounts of people who have traversed the heart-wrenching journey of losing someone they love. In the time-honored tradition of Wisdom Circles, 12-Step meetings, and Dharma discussions, we learn through personal narratives to listen with compassion to those who are suffering — without trying to fix, solve, or placate grief. Told with raw honesty, these narratives come from deep recesses of the heart.
Sharing our personal stories is one path toward individual and collective healing. By offering up our innermost places of hurt, we no longer carry these heavy burdens alone. When we courageously speak our truth or listen quietly with compassion, we are no longer strangers. We are friends. Perhaps that is the greatest gift of all— learning to connect and care for one another in an authentic manner that transcends ordinary daily interactions.
Heart Guide was selected as a Gold Medal winner in the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs).
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About the Cover
The book cover, designed by JD Bills, features an oil painting by Colleen Murphy, Birth of an Angel. She believes angels surround us always, and she works with them in her art and in life. Birth of an Angel reflects her awe of the Universe and her appreciation of the spiritual side of life, especially with angels. She has lost people she loved and has communicated with them on the other side of this realm.
Kirkus Reviews (read entire review here in pdf format)
The survivors—who include Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Santería practitioners, and New Age believers—differ in their methods but agree that self-care is crucial. Each stresses that a person’s healing comes in its own time. Ensign’s mature and tolerant approach uncovers humor, anger, and disgust that are often self-censored in conversations at the funeral home, gravesite, or memorial service. (Interestingly, even devoutly religious survivors resented the well-meaning “a better place” and “see them again” sentiments.)
Frank, warm, unflinching, and compassionate—a heartfelt work that explores sorrow and healing.
Listen to Diana discuss, Heart Guide, on the Richard Brendan Show radio program. (Takes up to 30 seconds to load.)
“This compassionate book connects the reader to intimate and powerful stories of loss and to personal antidotes for healing grief. These raw, unscripted conversations about loss help comfort and encourage anyone who has felt abandoned by grief.” —Anne Alderfer, LCSW, Hospice Social Worker
“In this book Diana Ensign gently holds space for individual stories of life, death, grief and love. She artfully gathers, frames and displays each story as simultaneously unique and universal. HEART GUIDE proves to be an excellent grief journey companion.” —Kelly Garry, LCSW, Counselor in grief, loss, change & transition
“My heart is in joyful gratitude and wonder! This is a gift to all who grieve, all who suffer a yet unattended grief, and all whose grief has been silently, secretly festering for years. I celebrate each personal story shared.” —Louise Dunn, author, Beyond Your Past
“Those whose lives have been shaped by the deaths of loved ones share the limits of loss that may isolate us from relief. Diana Ensign has listened carefully to people who are intimate with grief and encouraged them to share with others their process for recovery. If you are wrestling with grief, read this book for insightful lessons on returning to hope, joy, and laughter.” —Elsa F. Kramer, editor, Branches Magazine
“In this fine collection of personal interviews, Diana Ensign gently and skillfully ‘listens into speech’ a variety of honest, heartfelt, and healing stories. Her compassionate, non-judgmental and attentive ear enables each grieving soul to find its voice and to give expression to both pain and resiliency. The result is a gift to us all, as we come to understand that the most deeply personal insight turns out also to be the most universal truth: love bears all things.” —Rev. Dr. Bruce Johnson, Unitarian Universalist Minister
“Diana Ensign’s reverent approach to asking deep and stimulating questions about death opens a safe space to explore grief. Pain has not been a communal activity in recent times. In our positivistic culture, we are expected to carry our suffering alone, not burden others with it. These stories make clear that grief is a universal and profoundly human experience. It is in sharing our grief that we develop the capacity to be open to our suffering and to the suffering of others and to the reality of death as a human experience that needs community support.” —Ingrid Sato M.S., LMFT, LCSW, Co-founder of Friends of Awakening Sangha
“Few losses are as painful as the death of someone close. There is no journey as personal and life changing. In this beautifully written book, compassionate guide Diana Ensign shines a light on the road through grief. For those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, here are strength and genuine words to inspire and comfort.” —Richard Brendan, M.A., Speaker, Counselor, Radio Host