Writing, grief and moving forward: Dr. Reinekke Lengelle featured on CTV Morning Live Calgary
March 20 is world storytelling day and although we all have a story to tell, for many, telling it has become a way to deal with life’s ups, and downs.
Assistant Professor and Published Author Dr. Reinekke Lengelle joined CTV Morning Live Calgary to discuss how storytelling can help people cope with challenging times.
Dr. Lengelle discussed how COVID-19 has affected everyone’s lives, and the fact that right now, many people are grieving—they are grieving the death of loved ones, loss of health, job loss, and loss of social connection.
“I’ve been studying storytelling and writing for wellbeing for many years. When my husband died of cancer two years ago, I wrote a healing story to respond to that. And, I studied grief,” she said.
Dr. Lengelle mentioned that 68% of us are resilient in grief and cope quite well without special help and noted that writing stories is one of the best ways to get through challenging times.
She emphasized that the writing advice she gives to her AU students to get started is to buy a cheap journal, and to avoid buying anything too fancy, as the leather-bound ones can be intimidating. Then, write your feelings down in colour.
Dr. Lengelle also spoke about how she used writing as a companion in bereavement and turned it into a book to help others.
“I started writing two weeks after my husband died. As I wrote my story, I also studied the latest research on grief,” she said. “What my students at Athabasca University learn is how to write to make meaning of difficulty. Through story, we turn difficulty into learning, and that’s uplifting.”
Want to learn more about her book?
For AU professor Dr. Reinekke Lengelle, losing her partner Frans was a life-changing and deeply sorrowful experience. In order to be with her grief and respond to it, she surrendered to her feelings and wrote a book called Writing the self in bereavement: a story of love, spousal loss, and resilience. The book combines her personal story with the latest grief research.
“The book demonstrates powerfully that writing can be a companion in bereavement. It uses and explains the latest research on coming to terms with spousal loss, without being prescriptive. The author explores a number of themes that are underrepresented in existing resources: how one deals with anger, what a healthy response to unfinished business with the deceased might be, continuing conversations with the beloved (even for agnostics and atheists), ongoing sexual desire, and secondary losses,” said Lengelle.
Fun fact: The cover was done by Calgary painter, Darrin Hartman!