There's an old saying that, "It takes one to know one." While that statement isn't generally associated with grief coaching, I think that it should be. The only person who can really offer any insight to someone who is grieving is someone who has grieved themselves. Elaine qualifies in that regard. Specifically, she and I both lost spouses, which is a special kind of grieving process. When I experience a particular incident in my grieving process Elaine has, as they say, 'been there done that.' This makes her, to my mind, more credible and more empathetic.

Elaine has been my long distance friend. I truly feel that she is a friend now, but the advantage for me is that she is a new friend, not someone who knew me before, not someone who knew my late husband, i.e. she has no preconceived ideas about me or my relationship with my late husband. Therefore, because of that and because our sessions have been via telephone, I feel free to discuss anything with her. She accepts my comments, no matter how bizarre, and, oftentimes, has experienced similar things herself. I've been able to discuss with her things that I could not even have discussed with my best friend who has known me all my life! It is a wonderful thing to know that you can mention anything and you will not be judged in any way. If you feel it, you feel it. Elaine will acknowledge and accept your feelings and help you to deal with them and/or see them from a different perspective. I truly feel that God led me to find her and I will be eternally grateful that he did. She sends weekly encouragement via e-mails and is always available at the other end of cyberspace.

Do you need help wading through the mass of emotions associated with grieving? Do you need a friend who truly accepts you as you are? If you do, you could do no better than to have Elaine Torrance-Gingrich in your corner.

Antoinette "Toni" Lucas
Benton, KY