Tri-County Press - Wednesday, April 18, 2001


Sally Voth

Two Glendale authors publish
stories about 'life' after death

  When I first started reading "From Eulogy to Joy," I didn't like it. I closed the book, a compilation of more than 130 personal stories about death, after spending half an hour with it open one evening last week.
  I'm not sure what I didn't like about it. Maybe reading about women losing husbands, parents losing children, sons losing their mothers, was not something I wanted to do.
  But something made me pick up the anthology two days later. Rather than starting at the beginning, I flipped around among chapters. This time, I could not put the book down. More than once, I've caught my editor glancing my way because I have kept my nose stuck in this book too much, but I have a good reason.
  "From Eulogy to Joy" is the culmination of six years of work by two Glendale women, Cynthia Kuhn Beischel and Kristina Chase Strom. Beischel's husband drowned in 1992. Strom's mother died two years earlier.
  One ad in "Writer's Digest" resulted in 100 submissions from people dealing with losing a loved one. Beischel and Strom also contacted people they had seen on television and read about. Word of mouth led others to write to the women.
  "The response was overwhelming," Strom said. "We received all of these submissions, way over 500."
  In 19 chapters, all aspects of dying and death are covered - from losing a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend, even someone you hated to death - cancer, miscarriage, birth
defects, accidents, murder, suicide. Also covered are ways of coming to terms with the grief.   Reading the collections of intensely personal stories, I was most amazed by the searing honesty of the writers. One woman wrote of the extreme cruelty her parents showed her sister as she was dying from cancer. Another wrote why she would not go to the funeral of her cold, distant mother when she died.
  The overriding message in the book is that whatever a grieving person feels is both normal and acceptable.
  Too often well-meaning yet insensitive people, or perhaps people cut off from their own emotions, tell grieving people it's time to move on - to "get over it" - after a certain length of time following a death.
  "We said you never get over death," Strom said. "We were feeling a little bit out of it (following the deaths of loved ones). We knew if we were feeling that way, other people must, too.
  Beischel and Strom hope others find comfort and eventually joy by reading about others who have gone through similar emotions and found peace.
  "Death is for the living. Both Beischel and I through this process are very much healed. And our lives are indeed filled with peace now," she said.
  "From Eulogy to Joy" is available in paperback for $16 from,, and New World Bookshop on Ludlow Avenue in Clifton. Beischel and Strom will be at the shop for booksigning 7-9 p.m. Friday, April 27.

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