Gold Ippy Award Winner!

Leaning into Love
A Spiritual Journey through Grief
by Elaine Mansfield
Memoir / Death, Grief, Bereavement

1-936012-72-3
978-1-936012-72-5

October

Award Just Announced!

6 x 9
174 pages
paperback

List price : $14.95
Regular online price : $11.96
(You save $2.99)


Description

". . . original and exciting, offering readers a

bold exploration of loss, grief and unexpected

consequences. . . . subtly poetic language . . .

curious and unflinching. . . . an instructive

guidebook for readers confronting their own

losses . . ."  —Kirkus Review


Elaine Mansfield’s uplifting story of love, hope,

determination, and triumph is a gift to the half

million women who lose spouses each year.

“I’ll find a way to be all right,” she promised

Vic, her dying husband and best friend of 42

years. Leaving the hospital after he passed, she

had no idea how. In the weeks and months and

years that follow, she learns to lean into her on-

going love. Grief takes her through emotional

and spiritual depths on a journey that builds on

their time together and leads her into new life.

About Elaine Mansfield


Elaine Mansfield
is a nutrition, exercise, and

women’s health counselor, longtime student

of Marion Woodman and the Dalai Lama, and

hospice volunteer. She blogs on grief, loss, en-

vironmental issues, and leads hospice classes

on bereavement. See more of her work at

elainemansfield.com

Early Praise


"This is a magnificent, profoundly moving book.

Elaine Mansfield loved her husband Vic so dearly,

there is no way their bond could be eclipsed, or

erased, by his death from cancer. Wisdoms which

proved helpful on their hardest journey are frankly,

generously offered. This rich story gives encourage-

ment and solace to all." 
                                           —Naomi Shihab Nye


“Elaine Mansfield knows far more than most people

about love and loss, and she tells it with admirable

honesty and clarity.”
         —Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist

 

“Not only a touching and courageous memoir about

love, illness, death, and grief, Elaine Mansfield’s

Leaning into Love is a manual for healing that offers

us the emotional and spiritual tools needed to grow

and even flourish through life’s deepest crises."
                         —Dale Borglum, Living/Dying Project


“Some books are so original they could only have

been written by one person.  This is one of them. If

you want to know what real love looks like, read this

page-turning testament to the exquisite beauty and

tragedy of life, death and rebirth.  You won’t come

away unchanged. Mansfield is a masterful storyteller

whose prose is as spare and meaningful as poetry and

whose integrity is as intrepid and inspiring as the most

magnificent heroine or goddess.”   

—Jean Benedict Raffa, author, Healing the Sacred

Divide, The Bridge to Wholeness, and Dream Theatres

of the Soul


“A powerful account of the journey of grief.”
   —Roshi Joan Halifax, abbot, Upaya Zen Center and
author of Being with Dying


“Elaine Mansfield's book with her extraordinary

husband through sickness, death, and then on to

grief and renewal is heart-breaking and healing

at the same time. It is a spiritual as well as an

emotional journey, a good companion, a beauti-

fully written story of a woman's journey through

bereavement.”
                                       —Lama Tsultrim Allione


"Each person’s path through grief is as startlingly

unique as the palm of a loved one’s hand and yet

mythic in its universality. Elaine Mansfield’s testa-

ment of loving and loss lets intimate details and

overarching truths reinforce each other, so that

those of us entering her story find ourselves cross-

ing into the underworld with her.  In that land we

find not only helplessness but the courage to learn

new skills; not only inconsolable loneliness but the

steady support of family and community; not only

absence but the love which never leaves.  Above all,

we discover with her the life-saving value of kindness. 

This is a book which captures the heart from page

one and continues to hold us even when we must put

it down, and so it mirrors the undying connection be-

tween Elaine and her beloved Vic."

—Patricia Campbell Carlson, Gratefulness.org


From Nina Miller, director emeritus of the Nina K.
Miller Hospicare Center in Ithaca, New York:

"I come to Elaine Mansfield’s book with two perspectives:

that of a former hospice director, and as a surviving

spouse of a long and loving marriage. The book is an

honest and sensitive portrayal of Elaine’s journey accom-

panying her husband Vic through the anguish of what turns

out to be an incurable form of cancer.


We know immediately that she is writing this after Vic’s

death; the mystery is not whether he will live, but how

she will survive without him.


The details of the illness and its treatment are unsparing,

but softened by the love and candor that bind this extra-

ordinary couple.  There is much to be learned here about

the critical role of the  honest communication that is the

deepest kind of intimacy.  The book is also a portrayal of

Elaine’s circuitous and painful path to recovery after Vic’s

death and her deeply understood recognition that while her

husband has not survived, their complex and rich love is

forever part of her.


While some readers may not relate to the spiritual pathway

that is so vital to acceptance and recovery for Elaine, what

is clear is that a supportive community of family and friends

are essential as we move through illness, death and grief.

Elaine does not spare herself, writing honestly about her

moments of anger and sacrifice; that honesty enables her to

let go and simply love her husband as he is dying and as she

incorporates the reality of his death.


The Mansfield family’s connection to the natural world is a

critical presence in their lives, and Elaine shares her pro-

found sense of connection to the cycle of seasons and the

cycle of life. This is a book that will touch your heart

and inform your understanding of love, loss, and grief."

                                          ———


“Reading this beautiful memoir of love and loss and

triumph felt to me like a sacred journey into the very

heart and soul of the courageous woman who writes it.

With finely crafted, poignant as well as powerful prose,

Elaine Mansfield tells the moving and inspirational story

of her husband’s valiant battle with a rare form of incura-

ble cancer and her own emotional struggles to support

him throughout their shared ordeal. Her marriage to Vic

is solid and happy, based on loyalty, devotion and commit-

ment—all of which serve as the foundation for the author’s

unwelcome but lovingly executed role as her husband’s

primary caregiver. The author writes that in her marriage

to Vic, emotional honesty was the ground of their relation-

ship. Clearly that same emotional honesty is the ground

of her writing as well. Coming straight from her heart, she

openly shares her pain, her fears and insecurities as she

faces and copes with her husband’s relentless and recurring

illness that ultimately ends in his death. But throughout

this experience she also writes of her growing strength and

determination. As she consciously and deliberately works

through her grief, the day eventually comes when she feels

ready to look clearly not only at what she has left behind,

but squarely at the new life that lies before her. Through

her writing and her work as a bereavement facilitator with

hospice, she decides to share her experiences, and the

valuable lessons she has learned, with others who are

struggling to cope with care giving and loss. Overall this

is an uplifting story of courage, hope, determination and

triumph—and a very compelling read.

    Highly recommended!
—Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC, is a nationally certified
   grief counselor who blogs at www.griefhealingblog.com

 

 

Complete Kirkus Review


KIRKUS REVIEW

A meditative memoir of a wife’s bereavement.

In her debut, Mansfield recounts her personal and

spiritual evolutions following her beloved husband’s

terminal cancer diagnosis. Divided into before and

after sections, the book details both the painful months

leading up to the death of Mansfield’s husband and the

years of mourning and emotional exploration that followed.

The first half will be familiar to anyone who has been

involved with the treatment of a long-term illness, from

the indignities of hospitals to the search for moments of

joy amid bleak circumstances. In these early chapters,

Mansfield’s story often seems to lack direction, focusing

on medical minutiae at the expense of narrative momen-

tum and sometimes relying on clichéd language, as

when the author refers to herself as “a lioness protecting

her cub.” In the after section, however, the book builds

into something far more original and exciting, offering

readers a bold exploration of loss, grief and unexpected

consequences. Drawing on the teachings of Buddhism,

Jungian psychology, mythology and other spiritual re-

sources, Mansfield thoughtfully crafts practices and

rituals to help her and her loved ones cope with her

husband’s death—an ongoing attempt to reconcile the

joy of life with the pain of death. Her descriptions of

her bereavement and slow recovery are honest and

moving, rendered in subtly poetic language; at one point,

she describes a groupof dolphins as “luminous revelations

leaping from the great unconscious sea.” What’s more,

Mansfield’s perspective on her husband’s death is

refreshingly curious and unflinching. She bravely allows

for the possibility that losing him may have opened

doors to opportunities she otherwise would not have had.

These sharp insights alongside specific details of practical

coping mechanisms make her account an instructive

guidebook for readers confronting their own losses. Those

interested in the natural world—and city folk yearning for

a taste of country life—will also appreciate the vivid de-

scriptions of her rural New York homestead and its

central role in her healing process.

Deeply spiritual without being preachy, a comforting

guide to mourning for readers of any stripe.

                                                                     (August 14, 2014)

 

 

Congratulations on IPPY Award!

From Swenson Book Development's May 2015 Newsletter:

Congratulations to Elaine Mansfield
and Larson Publications
on the Gold Medal 2015 IPPY

 

 

Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief, by Elaine Mansfield (Larson Publications) has been awarded a national gold medal for the best book in the category Aging/Death & Dying from the world’s largest book awards contest. The Independent Publisher Book Awards, known as the IPPY, honor the year’s best titles from around the world published by academic, small and independent presses. The gala awards banquet for the IPPY Awards will be held Wednesday, May 27, in New York City. Nearly 6,000 entries from more than 2,000 publishers representing all 50 states, eight Canadian provinces, and 34 countries participated in the 19th annual Independent Publishers Book Awards.

 

 

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