Hope Edelman

Aren’t you over it yet? Anyone who has experienced a major loss in their past knows this question. We’ve spent years fielding versions of it, both explicit and implied, from family, colleagues, acquaintances, and friends. We recognize the subtle cues—the slight eyebrow lift, the soft, startled “Oh! That long ago?”—from those who wonder how an event so far in the past can still occupy so much precious mental and emotional real estate.

Because of the common but false assumption that grief should be time-limited, too many of us believe we’re grieving “wrong” when sadness suddenly resurges sometimes months or even years after a loss. The AfterGrief explains that the death of a loved one isn’t something most of us get over, get past, put down, or move beyond. Grief is not an emotion to pass through on the way to “feeling better.” Instead, grief is in constant motion; it is tidal, easily and often reactivated by memories and sensory events, and is re-triggered as we experience life transitions, anniversaries, and other losses. Whether we want it to or not, grief gets folded into our developing identities, where it informs our thoughts, hopes, expectations, behaviors, and fears, and we inevitably carry it forward into everything that follows.

Drawing on her own encounters with the ripple effects of early loss, as well as on interviews with dozens of researchers, therapists, and regular people who’ve been bereaved, New York Times bestselling author Hope Edelman offers profound advice for reassessing loss and adjusting the stories we tell ourselves about its impact on our identities. With guidance for reframing a story of loss, finding equilibrium within it, and even experiencing renewed growth and purpose in its wake, she demonstrates that though grief is a lifelong process, it doesn’t have to be a lifelong struggle.

Originally from New York, Hope Edelman is an internationally bestselling author, speaker, writing instructor, and coach. She has published seven books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Motherless Daughters (Da Capo Books), Motherless Mothers (HarperCollins), and The Possibility of Everything (Ballantine).

Motherless Daughters is widely considered the beloved and go-to book for millions of women whose mothers have died. It has been published in 17 countries and inspired more than 60 support groups around the world, from Melbourne to Chicago to London to Dubai. Cheryl Strayed has called Motherless Daughters, “an essential and illuminating must-read for anyone who has lost a mother or loves someone who did.”

Hope is a certified Martha Beck Life Coach specializing in grief, early loss, and creativity. She is the co-founder of Motherless Daughters Retreats, offering one-day workshops and four-day retreats to help motherless women revisit and reassess their early losses; get unstuck; and build community among others who share similar stories.

Hope has also been teaching nonfiction writing since the mid-1990s at Antioch University-LA, Northwestern University (her alma mater), The University of Iowa (her other alma mater), The University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and Ohio State University. She can be found every summer teaching workshops at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival in Iowa City, home of her heart.