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Susan Ambrose How Learning Works Online Book
s Susan Ambrose answers your queries over e-mail with her funny and insightful wit, “Blinded by the Light,” remains well worth a listen. With a little help from her husband, both widowed like Ambrose, she and her 22-year-old son have created a resource for grief-stricken widows and widowers as well as people coping with grief who aren’t relatives, who just like the Ambrose family themselves, haven’t yet coped with grief. Their book is often called “e-help” because the soothing, supportive and helpful themes sprinkled throughout are e-self-help. You get unconditional love and support and guidance and time, even through difficult times, and it all feels not only new and different but interactive and fun. You learn from Ambrose in blog posts: her writing is funny and insightful and the pictures and paintings she utilizes to tell her stories are beautiful and colorful and real. And as the name of the book suggests, Ambrose can show you how to achieve change, too.
One question often gets asked by friends and peers: what do I do when I’m beside myself with grief, while working elsewhere and don’t have time to visit and hug and hold my kids and Grandchildren? What if I just don’t feel like doing anything? How do I get my mind and body and spirit in the right frame of mind, so that it is an enjoyable place to be? What if I don’t want to go home, or try to control the bad feelings or pain, or live in denial that life may go on without me?
How do I live life, without shutting it all out, or shutting down completely? And the question keeps coming back: can I write a book to help others through the grieving process that has helped me? I find it to be true that it is impossible to change experience, but it is possible to make something from it, something even stronger than the one that preceded it. Books helped, they made sense, helped me see things from a new perspective and they helped give me hope. I realized that I could write a book as a way to help other widows find meaning in their lives as well as help myself to come to terms with what I had lost.
There is no book that will ever completely tame or cure grief, but the hope that we all face pain, heartache and suffering, is one that gets us through it and keeps us from giving up. Why not share a memory or a quote from an old children’s story or book that you were reading in class or on the playground or on the street? Or maybe a quote from a movie, or a poem, or a song. Or perhaps one of Ambrose’s stories, most often poems about difficult experiences and important lessons, starting with an Irish proverb that most of us have heard by now. Or perhaps a quilt that one of her children had given her. Maybe a phrase that helped her after a difficult family trip. Sometimes it’s small, like writing a poem or poem for a loved one or an anniversary or a holiday; other times, it’s big: living day by day, enjoying each breath, with a visual aid, pictures, paintings, to remind you of each moment. Maybe in writing that helps us cope with death, grief, disease, or disability, we too can find the true healing. Ambrose holds her own reader up to the high standard of writing itself. Her writing is inspirational, often funny, sometimes a combination of funny and tragic, and often illuminating and insightful.
I recommend this book to you, and also that you be inspired to develop what Ambrose calls and “griefning curriculum”, a sort of online classroom where you and others can join others over shared grief experiences, benefit from each other’s counsel and learn from each other. The curriculum is only a little over a page long, but in order to have the most effect on others, it needs to be a fluid, self-encouraging dynamic; you can’t just stand there and wait for people to start sharing stories; you need to share your stories, too. And that is a tall order for just a little bit of time. But I found it amazingly effective for getting me to do that when I needed to. And I saw the same in the customers of other grief sites who were reading my book. And I believe that these people, who may be grieving a death in their family, or or in their friendships or their faith, will be engaged with and inspired by Ambrose’s book. And that is life in a nutshell.