Elaine Mansfield shares her very personal journey of grief and awakening through the process of losing her husband of 42 years to cancer. She describes what it was like to witness his suffering, and the reactions of those around them during the most difficult times. Mansfield talks about their relationship with teachers, such as the Dalai Lama and Anthony Damiani, and the ways those experiences helped carry them through to the end. Her experience was both dark and illuminating. Her shift in understanding and acceptance came while walking through a cemetery near the hospital where her husband was being treated. She realized that many people die young, without knowing if they’ve completed their work. “Vic died when he was 67…it helped me reconcile myself to the fact that he was leaving the earth with no unfinished business.” As she grieved her loss, she journeyed into a new life of her own. She shares, “…trying new things, doing things that would have scared me in the past, like a TedX talk, was a big leap for me, or writing a book, taking risks for myself, running bereavement groups,…I’d rather have Vic back any moment but a new person, a stronger person has developed in me because I’ve had this challenge.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)
Elaine Mansfield is a nutrition, exercise, and women’s health counselor. She’s a longtime student of the Jungian analyst and dream therapist, Marion Woodman, and is a student of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. She is also a hospice volunteer and leads hospice classes on bereavement. She regularly blogs on grief, loss, and environmental issues.
She’s the author of:
- Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief (Larson Publications 2014)
To learn more about the work of Elaine Mansfield go to www.elainemansfield.com.
Topics explored in this dialogue include:
- How did she handle the end stages of her husband’s life
- What helped ease her suffering as she was going through this process
- How did her women’s mythology group help
- What did she learn during walks in the cemetery
- How does she describe her “warriorship”
- What did it mean to “be a good patient”
- How did her life change after her husband’s passing
Host: Justine Willis Toms Interview Date: 7/27/2015 Program Number: 3552