It was in my very first Thanatology class in graduate school that I realized I was still grieving the loss of both of my parents, who died within three months of each other; as well as the passing of several of my close friends from suicide and accident during that same 12 months.
After my mother’s death I moved in with my father only to find his body one night upon returning home. He had died of a heart attack. It was during my graduate work that I realized that the hospitalization I had experienced where I was admitted for severe chest pain and difficulty breathing following my parents death began to make some sort of sense to me. My hospital stay lasted 4 days and 4 nights. It was like a light bulb was being turned on allowing me to realize the profound importance that the death of my parents and friends and the trauma events played in my life.
I had never heard the word “bereavement” before 2006 and found to my surprise that I was actually suffering from it. During my classes, I also learned about “ Broken Heart Syndrome” for the first time, a temporary heart condition that’s often brought on by stressful situations and extreme emotions as in the death of a loved one. I hadn’t realized or understood what had happened to me during those years after my loved one’s passing. My days were filled with challenges. I suffered from deep depression and was afraid of building relationships. I was losing my self-confidence and was unable to establish financial security like I used to be. There was constant sadness, anxiety and hopelessness. I also found that the nightmares I was having were actually related to all my unresolved grief.
My healing journey has been a tremendous source of gratitude for me as I have been able to understand and work through the core issues of grief that have kept me from living my life.
Far from my life as a highly successful international fashion model and actress, my work in Thanatology and Tibetan Buddhism has found me, through Grace, to be on a journey that has been both unexpected and deeply meaningful. Today I live each day inspired, claiming the joy and freedom and learned to live a life without my loved one and knowing it is possible to be joyful again.
I would like to extend my hand to assist you in your personal grief journey. Through sharing my experience, heart and education with you I hope to be that light bulb in your life to show you and guide you to understanding the source of your personal pain and suffering. With this new knowledge, you can move on with life as I have, instead of feeling stuck or paralyzed. Grief is unique and personal, each person’s grief has its own impact on them in different ways and there is no one formula to ease the pain. It is a personal path that we all walk regardless if we choose to walk it or not. But it doesn’t have to be a lonely journey like mine. I believe that through learning about, exploring and understanding your grief, we will be able to transform your sadness into joy and hope making it possible to live life fully again.
*Originally from Hong Kong and having lived in the US for over 25 years Chyna Grace Wu has long practiced Tibetan Buddhism and holds a Masters degree in Thanatology; the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement and a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from New York City. Chyna previously worked at different hospices in New York City and in Arizona, currently works privately with people or groups who are going through various stages of grief and mourning with the goal being to transform suffering into the vitality of living.