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Robert Orfali

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Member Since: Mar, 2011

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Books by Robert Orfali
Grieving a Soulmate: The Love Story Behind Till Death Do Us Part
by Robert Orfali   

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· Death with Dignity: The Case For Legalizing Physician-Assisted Dying



Publisher:  Mill City Press ISBN-10:  1936400669 Type:  Non-Fiction


Copyright:  January 15, 2011 ISBN-13:  9781936400669

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Grieving a Soulmate

An in-depth analysis of the deep pain of grief associated with losing a soulmate.

 Grieving a Soulmate is unlike any book you've ever read, even though the story is universal. It's about the death of a lover. This book takes on a difficult and very personal topic with courage, out-of-the-box thinking, and deep love. Ranging from the practical to the emotional - and frequently blending the two - Orfali’s style of writing makes a difficult topic easier to manage. He writes in an easy style that is analytical, yet speaks from the heart. The content is thought-provoking, unique and original. It's your gentle and informed guide to the deep grieving that accompanies the death of a soulmate.

This book should help you quickly overcome the red-hot pain of grief. It also tells you how to reconstruct your life, find meaning, and deal with the big existential issues from a secular perspective. It’s a survival guide for the last stages in a soulmate relationship. Above all, however, Grieving a Soulmate is a love story.

This book is really a love story. Since the beginning of time, millions of love stories have appeared in every form of medium—stone tablets, papyrus, songs, poems, books, movies, and TV soaps. By now, everything should have been covered—first dates, courtship, marriage, honeymoon, lovemaking, parenting, dual careers, sex after menopause, and so on. What could have been left unsaid about love? Drumroll, the answer is: The “death do us part” thing. It never gets the proper coverage. No one likes to talk about what happens to love stories at the very end. The timeline just before and after the death of a soulmate remains the untold part of the story. There are some exceptions—for example, Ghost, which is a very tender and romantic movie.

Unfortunately, in the real-life version of Ghost, there is a high probability that one of the partners will eventually get sick and then die. The other partner first becomes a caregiver and then a griever. So the bad news is that sickness and death will eventually “do us part.” The good news is that the love relationship only gets stronger with illness and death. It also survives death. Yes, one spouse dies, but the love continues to live forever in the surviving partner’s heart. Of course, this assumes that the surviving partner does not perish during the grieving process.

So the big surprise is the incredible level of bonding, loving, and tenderness that takes place during sickness and the last days. It’s the ultimate love affair. It’s total and unconditional love. It’s more romantic than courtship. It’s more tender than mothering. And, it can be very sexy. You live in the moment. You savor every remaining microsecond that you can enjoy with your lover on this earth.

After death comes the grieving. At the beginning, you are assaulted with the red-hot pain bursts of young grief. It’s like molten lava burning through your entire being. If you find some way to get rid of these grief bursts, you’ll then withdraw into a period of sadness and meditation. This is a time when you can explore your relationship and give meaning to your lover’s life and death. Incredibly, this meditation elevates you to another plateau of love. In your grieving, you rediscover what it was all about: You have loved and lost, but you also understand how lucky you were to have loved.

So, yes, this is a love story. It covers love at the end of life—the “final love.” A few lucky lovers will leave this earth at the same time. For the rest of us, there will be grieving and, perhaps, a period of caregiving before death. Most lovers will experience this last part; it’s almost universal. Deep inside, we all know it’s going to happen—the marriage vows give us ample warning. Yet, none of us seem to know anything about the love experience in the final days. I certainly didn’t. The subject is taboo. The tabloids never cover it. Hollywood gives us endless scenes of instant death. We don’t ever see the entire process, even though it’s pure love at its peak.

This book is about that process. It’s about the death of a soulmate and the grieving that follows. It’s the book I wish I had read before my soulmate, Jeri, died. I was so unprepared for both her death and the brutal period of grieving that followed. This book should help you get through both. It can be your guide through “death do us part” and its aftermath—the profound process of grieving a soulmate.

Professional Reviews
Kirkus Discoveries
Rather than bringing release, a long-foreseen death prompts anguished soul-searching in this tender, hopeful memoir-cum-self-help primer.

The author nursed his wife Jeri through a 10-year battle with ovarian cancer that he feels was the most rewarding part of their marriage: life in their Hawaiian home, where Jeri became an avid surfer, was full and even romantic—baldness and colostomy bags included. Orfali's reminiscences of those years are fond and forthright and packed with information and tips on everything from coping with chemo to choosing a hospice. But because of their extraordinary closeness as soul mates, "totally intertwined and fused" into "an entity called we," Orfali was unexpectedly traumatized by Jeri's death; her sudden absence provoked endless crying jags and "grief bursts" that overwhelmed him "like molten lava." As he looks for a way out of his pain, he takes us on a journey through the psychological literature on death and grieving, visiting writers from C.S. Lewis to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and Dr. Joyce Brothers (and sternly rejecting the "forget and detach" school of "Freudian psychobabble"). Orfali synthesizes what he learns into a workmanlike cure that is inflected by his career as a software designer and involves a "grief meter" and "grief burst buckets." What he means by that mechanistic terminology is something very simple: a sustained meditation on the ideas and feelings behind his grief. As he explores everything from his anxiety that he didn't manage Jeri's treatment optimally to his survivor's guilt, he gropes his way toward an acceptance of death, a philosophy of existentialism softened by Hawaiian surfer spirituality and a renewed sense of the lasting value of his relationship with his wife. Orfali writes in a straightforward, often bullet-pointed style, but infuses it with intellectual seriousness and emotional depth. The result is both a useful guide to end-of-life issues and a profound reflection on their meaning.

A heartening testament to the ability of love to transcend loss.

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