SOURCE: Author Jan Groft

Author Jan Groft

November 16, 2009 17:05 ET

Memorial Tributes Offer Encouragement to the Grieving

Expert Reveals Lessons in Deriving Peace From Grief

LITITZ, PA--(Marketwire - November 16, 2009) - As Americans watched memorial programs for Michael Jackson and Senator Ted Kennedy, they may have noticed that the families involved did not sit passively as the lives of their famous loved ones were paid tribute. There was laughter and joy mixed with tears and also valuable lessons for the rest of us when our not-so-famous loved ones pass.

That's the opinion of Jan Groft, author of "As We Grieve: Discoveries of Grace in Sorrow" from Graham House Books (, who believes there is hidden grace enveloped between the tears shed in grieving those we have lost. One event Groft found inspiring was the memorial for the late Senator Ted Kennedy televised shortly after his passing.

"Ted Kennedy's televised Life Celebration is a perfect illustration of this empowering kind of healing," Groft added. "Friends and colleagues and relatives stood to share memories of their interactions with the Senator. With their words, they brought him back to life and captured the essence of what this man had meant to them. The gratitude in Vicki Kennedy's eyes when she hugged well-wishers, the laughter among mourners re-living light-hearted stories of Kennedy's wit and tenacity, the attendees nodding in agreement with descriptions of the personality they'd cherished... all represent moments of peace, even brief ones, so important to the grieving process. The people gathered in that room certainly mourned a deep and true loss, yet the sense of community they shared was itself a comforting experience."

Groft also espouses the theory that survivors, as well as caregivers grieving an imminent loss may discover life lessons in grief that can offer solace.

"The loss of a loved one gives us the chance to look at life in a way that only those who are losing it can provide. This may influence us to re-evaluate priorities or how we allocate our time. It's a sharpened perspective that provides comfort, a newfound wisdom that can enrich the rest of our lives."

About Jan Groft

Writer and speaker Jan Groft is the author of two books, "Riding the Dog" and "As We Grieve: Discoveries of Grace in Sorrow." Formerly President/Creative Director of an award-winning advertising agency, she also records life histories of hospice patients and facilitates writing workshops for the bereaved.

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