Award-winning journalist and author from Crookston co-writes book with longtime psycho-therapist.
One of our own, Tim Madigan, has authored another book. Specifically, he co-authored “Getting Grief Right – Finding Your Story of Love in the Sorrow of Loss” with Patrick O’Malley, Phd. The book went on sale July 1.
The Times caught up with Madigan in Texas, his longtime home, to talk about his latest written work.
It was a long process, but so well worth it, he said, because he hopes it changes lives for the better.
“I think it could be the most impactful book I’ve ever written,” Madigan told the Times. “Patrick O'Malley and I first started discussing this book about ten years ago, so it's been a long time in the making. One big reason is the universal reality of grief. If we live, we will lose someone. But for those who grieve, the world can still be a very lonely, difficult place.”
What’s actually at the heart of “Getting Grief Right” might surprise some people, Madigan said.
“As a psycho-therapist for nearly 40 years, Patrick has worked with thousands of grieving people, but so many come to him not because they want to share the sorrow of their loss, but because they are haunted by the notion that they are somehow not grieving correctly,” he explained.
O’Malley calls it “grief shame.”
“The prevailing wisdom of our culture is that grief happens in a predictable, linear way, as in the famous stages of grief, and that at some point, a bereaved person should achieve closure, or acceptance, and move on with life as before,” Madigan said.
O’Malley bases his views on personal experience, specifically, very personal loss.
“Patrick felt that way himself after losing an infant shortly after he began his practice. His grief, and the grief of most of his clients, didn't fit the model,” Madigan told the Times. “When he still felt deeply sad years after his son's death, Patrick felt there was something wrong with him. After many years of suffering, he came upon another way. Instead of attempting to diagnose his clients according to the prevailing theories and stages, he merely invited them instead to tell the story of the one they lost, in all its beauty, love and inevitable complexity.”
Telling those stories allowed O’Malley’s clients to embrace their sorrows and begin looking at them in a different way. “The bereaved could embrace their sorrows, and begin to see them as an enduring expression of love,” Madigan explained. “Patrick could tell his clients that there was nothing ‘wrong’ with them, they were just understandable sad, angry, lonely, etc.
“The book is a great comfort that way. It also gives very useful advice to those who want to support a grieving person in a meaningful way,” he continued. “As I said earlier, I think it will bring great comfort and clarity to so many, and I'm very grateful I had a chance to be a part of it. As always, I'm very proud to share Getting Grief Right with all my friends in my wonderful home town.”
If you're looking for the book, Madigan said Barnes and Noble is carrying it, but that the quickest way to find it and purchase it is probably by searching for it at Amazon.
Madigan grew up in Crookston and graduated from Crookston Central in 1976 before earning his degree from UND in 1980. An award-winning Texas journalist, he’s also the author of The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (2003), and I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers (2006). For more, visit timmadigan.net. Tim lives in Fort Worth with his wife, Catherine.