(The book) offers a new perspective on the grieving process, exposing cultural myths that hinder grieving and providing ways to integrate the process into daily life.
Tonawanda, NY (PRWEB) June 05, 2013
Even academic training in death, dying, spirituality and cultural values doesn’t prepare a father for the death of his daughter at age 21. In this new book, a professor emeritus shares his personal journey with grief and his struggle for meaning and health. He examines U.S. cultural expectations of grief and the emotions tied up with the death of a loved one. Author Charles Schmidtke spent years talking to other parents in grief support sessions and with friends and family, eventually coming to the realization that unhealthy attitudes and approaches to grieving exist in American society. Professional care providers also re-enforce negative attitudes, he believes.
“Riding the Subway with Heidi: A Father’s Journey of Grieving” offers a new perspective on the grieving process, exposing cultural myths that hinder grieving and providing ways to integrate the process into daily life. The author shares personal details of Heidi’s diagnosis in August 2000 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, the roller coaster of treatments she received and her death in February 2003 after a relapse. A remembrance service a few years later for anyone in western New York mourning for a child inspired the book’s title: Schmidtke felt like he was forever riding a subway and not controlling the contours of the journey. Although he could move from car to car or switch to another line, he couldn’t get away.
Attitude will define the subway ride; how one journeys on the subway is what matters, he writes. People can affirm their loved one’s life and seek healing, or try to compartmentalize the grief in a futile attempt to move on, or lament the journey and place blame, making the subway ride miserable for everyone. Schmidtke admits he has struggled between the emotional impact of Heidi’s death and intellectual reasoning to make sense of it all. He and his family treasure the moments they had with the spirited Heidi, as well as signs they’ve seen after her passing and the inspirational words she wrote to her family and other cancer patients. This new exploration of death and its effects will resonate with anyone who has encountered the death of a loved one.
Author Charles Schmidtke is professor emeritus after serving as an administrator and teaching at a private, Jesuit college in Buffalo, having led courses in philosophy, English, anthropology, psychology, sociology, communication and gerontology. The grandfather of eight serves as a conference deacon preaching and leading worship in parishes throughout western New York through the Evangelical Lutheran church, and works with parishes in transition.
For additional information, please visit http://www.charlieschmidtke.com.
Riding the Subway with Heidi: A Father’s Journey of Grieving
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-1622-1 212 pages $14.95 US
Available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.
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