In this groundbreaking new work, David Kessler—an expert on grief and the coauthor with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross of the iconic On Grief and Grieving—journeys beyond the classic five stages to discover a sixth stage: meaning.
In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler Ross first identified the stages of dying in her transformative book On Death and Dying. Decades later, she and David Kessler wrote the classic On Grief and Grieving, introducing the stages of grief with the same transformative pragmatism and compassion. Now, based on hard-earned personal experiences, as well as knowledge and wisdom earned through decades of work with the grieving, Kessler introduces a critical sixth stage.
Many people look for “closure” after a loss. Kessler argues that it’s finding meaning beyond the stages of grief most of us are familiar with—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—that can transform grief into a more peaceful and hopeful experience.
In this book, Kessler gives readers a roadmap to remembering those who have died with more love than pain; he shows us how to move forward in a way that honors our loved ones. Kessler’s insight is both professional and intensely personal. His journey with grief began when, as a child, he witnessed a mass shooting at the same time his mother was dying. For most of his life, Kessler taught physicians, nurses, counselors, police, and first responders about end of life, trauma, and grief, as well as leading talks and retreats for those experiencing grief. Despite his knowledge, his life was upended by the sudden death of his twenty-one-year-old son.
How does the grief expert handle such a tragic loss? He knew he had to find a way through this unexpected, devastating loss, a way that would honor his son. That, ultimately, was the sixth state of grief—meaning. In Finding Meaning, Kessler shares the insights, collective wisdom, and powerful tools that will help those experiencing loss.
Finding Meaning is a necessary addition to grief literature and a vital guide to healing from tremendous loss. This is an inspiring, deeply intelligent must-read for anyone looking to journey away from suffering, through loss, and towards meaning.
David Kessler is the world’s foremost expert on grief. His experience with thousands of people on the edge of life and death has taught him the secrets to living a fulfilled life, even after life’s tragedies. He coauthored On Grief and Grieving and Life Lessons with Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding Peace After a Breakup, Divorce or Death with Louise Hay. He is the author of Finding Meaning, Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms, and The Needs of the Dying, praised by Mother Teresa.
David’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Business Week, and Life Magazine, and on CNN, Fox, NBC, PBS, and CBS. David has served on the Red Cross Aviation Disaster Team and has volunteed for decades as a Los Angeles Police Department Specialist Reserve Officer. He lectures for physicians, nurses, counselors, police, and first responders and leads talks and retreats for those dealing with grief.
“We have a choice to rise or fall after tragedy. David Kessler knows this all too well, both as a trailblazing expert on grief and as a bereaved parent. If you want to find purpose and meaning in your life after loss, you can't miss this book.” —Tony Robbins, author of Unshakeable