Maria Sirois is an elegant and graceful storyteller with a wealth of stories from her own life and work. In her new book, A Short Course in Happiness After Loss, she reminds us that loss is an inevitable part of life which none of us is spared. Through her writing about loss, and I mean the kind of loss involving abrupt change to the core of our being and the way we think life is or should be. Losses such as death, divorce, and illness. These are kinds of loss that alter our reality (and often instantly) where we are taken out of our day-to-day normal and brought into the depths of raw and consuming emotion. All of these losses involve grieving and require time to heal.
Maria leads us through the journey with full permission to be in all the mess and emotion for as long as it takes. She leads us on an upward spiral through grief, hope, courage and onto the possibility of happiness with baby steps of awareness to rise up and see life as it is — a co-existing of good and bad, of up and down, of messy and orderly, sadness and joy. Maria’s authentic and raw honesty goes right to the heart and opens the door to moving forward into a life of meaning and pleasure. She is not talking at us about loss. She leads us, through real experiences, onto the path to healing.
Slowly, with tenderness and respect, Maria shows us that happiness — a life of meaning and joy — is possible when we begin to notice what is good, what is beauty, and onto what can be a new normal with joy as well as loss.
I was reminded of the morning my mother died and I went for a hike in the woods to cry, to remember, and to be cradled in the arms of nature. It was there I found a robin’s egg, newly hatched. I saw that coexisting was the metaphor of the release of my mother from this life for which I felt enormous grief and a glimmer of beauty and life continuing on in spite of the empty well I felt knowing my mother was gone.
Yes! I highly recommend Maria’s book for everyone, since loss does not discriminate who will or won’t experience loss. We all will, at some point. This book is an important guide through loss to the other side. A great short course to be, perhaps, better prepared when loss finds itself into our life. If you are in the midst of loss and wanting to find your own way to a new normal, this book is a beacon to find your own courage, awareness, and bravery on your journey.