After the unexpected loss of a loved one, it is difficult to know where to turn for help and what to do next, and healing can feel like something out of reach. The Sudden Loss Survival Guide: Seven Essential Practices for Healing Grief by Chelsea Hanson provides an indispensable road map to aid those who’ve experienced a life-changing loss. While you cannot control losing a loved one, you can consciously guide your own recovery. Through the application of simple, proactive practices, The Sudden Loss Survival Guide will empower you to overcome the darkness and anxiety of grief.
Chelsea Hanson is a nationally recognized grief educator and founder of With Sympathy Gifts and Keepsakes, which is an online memorial gift store and grief support center. Hanson found her true purpose in grief support and legacy work and graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison as a grief support specialist with certifications in holistic life coaching and life legacy preservation. By connecting her 20 years of business expertise with her true calling, she is an entrepreneur who specializes in grief products and programs to help others transform personal setbacks into opportunities to live a meaningful life. Chelsea transcended unexpected loss over time, losing both her father and mother at a young age. She now lives and works in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and son.
The Sudden Loss Survival Guide will be released on May 20, 2020, and you can pre-order your copy here. In light of the forthcoming release, I am excited to share this interview with Chelsea Hanson for Swenson Book Development.
Audrey Arnold: You have a lot of personal experience that goes into the work you do. What would you say is your daily source of inspiration in your work?
Chelsea Hanson: I see and experience small losses in ordinary moments of my life and others’ lives, whether it’s a child who is getting older and doesn’t need Mom or Dad as much, parents who are aging and need more support, or adults settling for jobs and situations they don’t enjoy. Seeing these small, poignant instances of grief provides inspiration to share my healing tools, which provide gentle comfort and loving support no matter the type or size of loss.
Audrey Arnold: How has writing The Sudden Loss Survival Guide been different from your other writing projects?
Chelsea Hanson: This book was personal. It’s often said we write what we need to learn. The Sudden Loss Survival Guide: Seven Essential Practices for Healing Grief has helped me transcend the sudden deaths of my parents and release cumulative and generational grief. When I started writing this book more than seven years ago, I was not sure if healing fully from sudden loss was possible because I had not experienced it yet. But, by using the practical tools and empowering exercises in this book, I’ve released grief completely and now enjoy peace. And others can do the same.
Audrey Arnold: As an entrepreneur, author, and sudden loss survivor, what is the biggest piece of advice you would have for someone searching for meaning, joy, and fulfillment in their life?
Chelsea Hanson: Life will flow differently because of loss, but it can still be beautiful in a new way. Anything is possible, even recovering from grief that was once unbearable.
The key is to not base your future plans on how you feel right now. Thoughts change. Emotions release. Feelings dissipate. Acute pain does not last forever. Over time, you can focus your energy on where you’d like to be in the future.
People sometimes get stuck in grief because they only partially experience their feelings. These stuck emotions and painful feelings will affect your thinking, the choices that you make, and your future joy. The way to move towards healing is to complete grief by allowing, experiencing, and expressing it. This includes processing all your related emotions, whether anger, sadness, guilt, or regret.
Fully experienced grief will disappear, and love will remain. Love will gradually fill the space where suffering currently lives.
Audrey Arnold: How has the experience of writing The Sudden Loss Survival Guide impacted you personally?
Chelsea Hanson: Many people believe that grief lasts indefinitely. I disagree. The experience of writing The Sudden Loss Survival Guide and working with clients has shown me that healing from loss can and does occur with proactive grief work. Although it’s not easy, with the desire to heal and the willingness to do the hard work of mourning, you can integrate loss into your life, and over time, embrace life again.
Sometimes grievers don’t want to heal because they mistakenly believe the pain keeps them close to those they lost. It’s the love that keeps you close, not the suffering. Sorrow ends, but love does not.
Audrey Arnold: What do you feel is next for you? Do you have any more projects in mind for the future?
Chelsea Hanson: I am excited to be offering a healing program that will be a companion to the Sudden Loss Survival Guide. In an interactive, healing circle, participants will use journaling to work through the Seven Essential Healing Practices taught in the book.
Audrey Arnold: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Chelsea Hanson: The most fulfilling facet of my counseling work is when a griever has a shift in perspective – when they see their situation differently. The mourner sees not only their pain, but also the possibility of change, personal growth, and renewal. When a client says, “I never thought about it that way,” a change in perspective has occurred and this brings healing. And isn’t that we all truly desire deep in our hearts, to be healed, whole, and complete.
Pre-order your copy of The Sudden Loss Survival Guide: Seven Essential Practices for Healing Grief today!