My guest today is Deborah Derman, Ph. D., grief counselor and author of Colors of Loss and Healing, An Adult Coloring Book for Getting Through Tough Times.
Joan Brunwasser: Welcome to OpEdNews, Deborah. Tell us please why you wrote this book.
Deborah Derman: I received a coloring book for my last birthday. It was the first adult coloring book that I had ever seen. I was quite overwhelmed when I looked at all the illustrations - so many tiny spaces to fill - it was kind of overwhelming! I started coloring, and kept at it. I had a lightbulb moment that this was exactly how I proceeded through my difficult times - just keep doing one small thing at a time.
I had so many tragedies to deal with in my life - the suicide of a close friend, losing my parents in a plane crash, the death of my husband when I was expecting my third child, breast cancer - I was so alone and felt so isolated....got my doctorate and studied grief and healing, really so I could help others who were in similar situations. My suffering was profound, and I never wanted anyone else to feel as alone as I felt.
I've been a grief counseling now for more than 20 years, and I know a lot both personally and professionally about healing. I tried to take the most important things that I've learned, the important things to focus upon, and incorporate them into my book.
JB: You've definitely had your share of tragedy - one major blow after another. Yikes! At what point in all this did you study grief and healing? As you practiced as a grief counselor, did the work help your own healing process?
DD: I received an acceptance to graduate school when I had been widowed for two months. Getting my acceptance letter to the Ph.D. program should have been a high point of my life, but all I felt was a sense of sadness. I delayed the start of school until my third child turned 1. I took as many classes as I could, and all that depended on good child care. If I had a reliable sitter, I could take two or three classes, otherwise I could only take one. I studied all year without a break and finished my doctorate in six years. I devoted all of my graduate work to the study of loss and healing. Did it help me heal? Yes!