The Unspeakable Loss: How do you live after a child dies?

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How could I live after my child died? How do you survive with a broken heart? But I knew I had to. I had two other children, a husband, family, friends, and clients.”

Nisha ZenoffAuthor and Alumna Nisha Zenoff, Ph.D. received her doctorate from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University. Her professional career has focused on supporting people to discover and live their best lives.

As a psychotherapist, marriage and family therapist and grief counselor, she had an active and successful career working with individuals, couples, families and groups. She followed her passion for supporting others using various modalities including dance/movement therapy, Process Oriented Psychology, meditation, and coaching.

Nisha’s book  “The Unspeakable Loss” was released November 2017 by Da Capo/Lifelong books, a Hachette Book Group  and was a finalist for the Best Book Awards of 2017 by the American Book Fest.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Unspeakable Loss” began in 1980 when her oldest son, Victor, died in a hiking accident in Yosemite National Park, one week before his 18th birthday. Although she was a professional therapist and grief counselor at the time, her knowledge and training did little to soothe her devastation and pain.  Nisha made a vow at that time that if she did survive, she would do what she could to help others survive this unspeakable loss. And to help bring comfort and hope to them in the midst of their grief. Nisha shared:

“It’s not common that an unknown author at the age of 77 gets her book published by a world-class publisher. It all started at Sofia (ITP). It is based on my doctoral dissertation from ITP “The Mother’s Experience After The Sudden Death Of A Child: Personal and Transpersonal Perspectives.”

My book has been a labor of love for 30 years, and I am thrilled to have it finally out in the world as a guide and comfort for anyone who has lost a loved one and for those family and friends supporting them, including professionals. 

It is a compilation of my 37-year healing journey after the sudden death of my 17-year-old son and provides guidance, support and wisdom from hundreds of other bereaved families. 

How do others find solace and help to overcome grief?

We asked a few members of our ITP at Sofia U community. Here are some of their responses.

Morgaine Hamouris Ph.D first graduating class of ITP 1980 – “I lost my son in 1987. He was 18yrs. old. My grief was complicated by another tragedy ( the accidental death of my client. I was blamed for his death and the consequences were devastating.) I wrote my story, Tears of Fire, so that I would never forget the transformative impact these two deaths had on my life. If I were to give someone advice today to help them move through their grief, I think I’d tell them to accept everything, all experiences that life presents to them and not to be afraid of their grief. There’s no simple recipe for moving through it. Just don’t run away from it. As my mentor told me ” When God has His foot on your throat, die.”

Dawn Harward – “Look for the opportunity in your tragedy. Live your life in a way that honors your loved one. Manifest meaning and a purpose for your loss by engaging in the creative process.”

Kara Torres – “I don’t know if any advice giving is helpful at the time of loss. The most important thing is to be there for someone by offering support and empathize with how the person feels. Typical advice giving I feel is usually not helpful because it can lead to a disconnect.”

Susan Weingartner – “Expect the unexpected. Don’t judge your feelings. Be gentle with yourself.”

ITP-logo_smallAbout The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University

Since 1975, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University has continued to be an international leader and pioneer, moving humanity forward in the areas of transpersonal research and transpersonal education. training clinicians, spiritual guides, wellness caregivers, and consultants who apply transpersonal principles and values in a variety of settings.  The Sofia educational model offers students not only a solid intellectual foundation, but an extraordinary opportunity for deep transformational growth and personal experience of the subject matter. How does Sofia University accomplish this? The university builds upon its strong, whole-person psychological foundation to give students a greater understanding of the human condition.

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