The loss of a loved one is a terrible trauma. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, the American-Swiss psychiatrist who pioneered near-death studies and developed the theory of the five stages of grief, expressed one of her major insights in her discussion of one of those stages –bargaining.
“We will do anything not to feel the pain of this loss. We remain in the past, trying to negotiate our way out of the hurt.”
When she was 25, Claire Bidwell Smith lost both her parents to cancer. She had grown up having to cope as they struggled to survive, the first of them having been diagnosed when she was just 14.
Overwhelmed by her mother’s impending death, Claire chose to keep her distance and later regretted not being at her mother’s side when she took her last breath.
By 18, Claire had to deal with the loss of her mother and her father’s terminal diagnosis. Like most people coping with loss, Claire went through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Coping variously with her parents’ respective diagnoses and deaths, Claire turned to alcohol for relief. During her young adulthood, she fell in love and began a long-term relationship with a self-destructive young man named Colin, who had been accused of murdering his own sister.
As both were dealing with loss, they plunged into severe alcohol addiction during this critical time in their lives.
Although suffocated by the relationship, Claire struggled to free herself from it, especially after all the damage she had suffered.
Once both her parents were gone, Claire felt utterly alone. This time, she turned to a more constructive coping mechanism: travel journalism.
During an assignment in the Philippines with a group of colleagues for Student Traveler magazine, Claire finally accepted the truth of her parents’ death.
An extraordinarily captivating memoir, “The Rules of Inheritance” has been caught the attention of Hollywood film producers and is the subject of a forthcoming motion picture featuring Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, who will also produce it.
When we’re going through a tough time in life, knowing we’re not alone can make it more tolerable. Written from first-hand experience, this memoir offers profound insights on how to live with loss. Although it deals primarily with coping with the loss of a loved one, it can help you deal with other types of serious setbacks in life as well.