A powerful and personal story that revolves around coping with grief and its attendant challenges has been added to Jamaica's literary scene.
Journalist, Shelly-Ann Thompson, officially launched her memoir 'My Heart Sank – Overcoming Grief, Loss and Challenges' in St Andrew on Monday evening.
The launch took place at Regardless in St Andrew, the former home of National Hero Norman Manley and his wife, Edna. The site appropriately set the background as a welcoming venue for history, literature, and empathy.
Thompson and the evening's speakers were introduced by attorney-at-law, Tamara Dickens, who guided the intimate gathering of friends and relatives of the author through a book launch with a difference.
Associate Counselling Psychologist at Family Life Ministries, Kevin A Bailey encouraged persons to be supportive of those who are experiencing grief.
"No two human beings experience loss the same way; sometimes the less you talk the better. Just being present, sometimes a hug (or just) listening carefully. You can share 'I don't know what to do', 'I don't know what to say', 'how can I help you', 'how can I support you'. Let the person take the lead," Bailey counselled.
Bailey also recommended that mourners find the power to love again after a loss and be willing to seek professional help if support and guidance are needed to carry on after experiencing such loss.
"You don't want to put a time on it (how long to grieve)," he said.
He explained further that "We look at your normal functioning, how you've changed. You used to enjoy food, sex, and other exciting things, but you now have no interest. We say if you go straight for two weeks without [wanting to engage in activities you previously enjoyed], you might want to see a counsellor one-on-one to help you through the process”.
Thompson said she penned 'My Heart Sank – Overcoming Grief, Loss and Challenges', as she wanted to help offer support to those suffering grief and trauma. The book, her first authorship, is dedicated to her father, Basil Thompson. The book's launch date marked 20 years since his passing.
"I chronicled five personal relationships in the book, and to go through the details of each of those relationships, and seeing that those persons are no longer with me, it was a sense of release. The writing process has helped me to cope with loss," she said.
The book's launch was capped with a book signing as individuals chatted and shared about their own journey through grief and loss.
Persons may pick up a copy of the book through the author's website, www.shellyannthompson.com, or purchase the Kindle or paperback version through the Amazon bookstore.