To see more and reach Donna Lynne:
Donna Lynne Erickson Comedy Video
Purchase The Funny Thing about Death available in Ebook, Paperback and Hardcover
I recently had the pleasure to meet Donna Lynne at a comedy show; is a delightful lady, funny and insightful. After I read her book The Funny Thing about death which changed the way I view loss. I quickly invited her to be a guest blogger because I want share with you what Donna Lynne taught me in her book.
“With The Funny Thing About Death, find an alternative course of action for a society that’s decided an absence of emotion around death’s unavoidability is the best way to deal with it. In its pages, readers—including adult children watching parents recede and die—will find comfort and counsel on how to lean into the discomfort of grief and allow natural mourning to occur.” Book review
Death itself is not funny. What is funny (strange) is the way we, in our busy western society handle losses. Since 2011, a colleague and I present full day seminars to teach people how to work through loss. To explain the content of these seminars and promote the importance of facing loss, together, I felt I needed to write a book for people asking if such a workshop would be a good fit for their workplace, church, or organization. This book was to be a brief look at what we teach and outline my philosophy of bereavement, grief and mourning. Then, it became more personal when my own story leaked in.
To be bereaved is to have something precious torn away. The event of loss.
When we experience loss — whether it is the loss of a loved one through death, the loss of a relationship through divorce or the loss of health and vitality — we are sad. That sorrow is the inside pain of loss also known as grief.
Expressing that sadness (grief) is what we call mourning. This is where it gets messy. Mourning a loss may make others uncomfortable therefore it is often stifled. There are often tears. Feeling of hopelessness. We become distraught trying to find the meaning and purpose of the loss. We may blame others, shake our fist at God or quietly sink into ourselves and cocoon so that our feelings stay private.
The Funny Thing about Death is a small and mighty book to explain not only my personal journey but observing experiences of other people as they wander through their loss event. We are all unique yet we all have something in common—it hurts to be bereaved. Losing pets, losing a job, losing a business or a home are huge life changing moments that mean life will be different and there is no magical way to rewind the event. “If only . . .”
The good news is there is hope. We cannot undo what has been done but we can move through the loss. We are able, if willing to do the work, reconcile the loss into our life. We need help to do that. There are times of utter exhaustion. There can be times of rest by giving permission to mourn in safety with trusted grief helpers. Can we change how we do things? Is there a way to make a cultural shift so that we can safely mourn without being judged, fixed or ignored?
I believe we can. To help others we must first understand our philosophy of bereavement, reconcile the losses we have personally experienced and then learn, listen and be aware of the need to mourn, together.